I know I have been blogging a lot but I am here to inform everyone about the sucess of my dyslexia policy. As many of you know, one of my flagship policies was to examine and improve the system by which dyslexic, dyspraxic, and dyscalculic students got their benefits. The current system is prohibitively expensive, inefficient, and hard for any student to understand.
It is worth noting that there is already funding available for students from low income backgrounds to help allieviate the cost of the screenings. This policy is designed to help students from middle-income backgrounds that would not qualify for the benefit and have to stretch their student loans in order to get a diagnostic assessment.
This has been one of those year on year problems which have been the bugbear for the students time and time again.
Throughout the term it was truly shocking to see how much misinformation there was and how hard it was for students who used the system to get the right information. Therefore, I felt it was of utmost importance to work with the University to address this system. On Wednesday, the President and I met with the Registrar and the new Head of Student Support Services to discuss how we could address this problem. I am pleased to announce that the university will be taking the following actions to fix the dyslexia issue that has dogged us for so many years
1. The University will be seeking to lower the cost of the assessment down from the currently steep cost of £400. It is believed that we can get the same quality of assessment for a lesser price and Student Support Services will be actively seeking to do this, meaning that the overall quantity of payment will be lower.
2. The University will be seeking to ensure that the waiting list for dyslexic students to get their assessment of need will be much shorter, ensuring that all students get their benefits and support before the January exams.
3. The University will be seeking tointroduce a system where students will pay the cost over the course of the academic year, rather than in one down payment. This will allow students to have a payment plan that goes along with their loans, rather than being short of money in their first term.
4. The University will be seeking to improve information on the website for all new students so that they are aware of the process and are not as confused as to how to get their benefits and what is recommended.
These changes will be very important in creating an efficient, progressive and cost-effective system that will not penalise students.
This issue affected both my predecessors and I am keen to make this change that will help disabled students get the benefits they deserve and not be forced to forgo the benefits they need. We are told that these improvements will be in place by the beginning of the forthcoming academic year.