6.1 Introduction

1. The University has a Student Support Service managed by the Director of Student Support.  His/her main duties are:

(i) To manage support for learning and pre-empt welfare needs including a ‘one stop shop’ facility at the Student Welcome Centre;
(ii) To manage the Student Wellbeing Service; the Accessibility Service and the Advice, Information and Money Service;
(iii) To manage the University Hardship Fund;
(iv) To contribute to the University’s reputation for excellence in student satisfaction and the student experience;
(v) To ensure that information on support matters is effectively distributed;
(vi) To consult with local agencies and providers of health care.

2. Institutes/Departments provide support as well as academic care for their students. Every student has access to a Personal Tutor who is available for consultation on personal matters and will refer a student to the appropriate agency if necessary: the aim is to provide support that is appropriate to the student and to his/her mode of study. Every academic department and service area within the University has its own Departmental Disability Co-ordinator. These provide the first ports of call for staff and students who have queries concerning policy, procedure or provision. The Departmental Disability Co-ordinators meet on a regular basis to remain current with best practice, changes in legislation and general progress towards a genuinely inclusive community. The Departmental Disability Co-ordinators Group is the joint responsibility of the Directors of Human Resources and Student Support. Mental health first aiders are also located within Institutes/Departments.

3. Halls of Residence are a focus of student life at Aberystwyth. First year undergraduate students are guaranteed a place in University accommodation. The two main types of hall – traditional and self-catering – meet differing social requirements. In allocating spaces, special circumstances are taken into account. Resident Assistants provide support under the supervision of Campus Services.

4. The Students’ Union welfare service co-operates with and complements the University’s own. Nightline is a confidential information service run for students by students.

5. The University’s Accessibility Service is the focus for references to the intra-structure and can arrange support and guidance on reasonable adjustments for individual students and can also advise members of staff on their interactions with students in respect of such adjustments..

6. The University has designated ‘Green Card Areas’ in the Hugh Owen and Thomas Parry Libraries, with computers, some special hardware and laptop access for disabled students.

7. The University makes available a range of reasonable adjustments for disabled students and those with specific learning differences.

8. Student Learning Support is located within the International English Centre, and offers a range of courses and services for enhancing students’ study experience.

9. The Accessibility Service within Student Support Services works with students from a widening access background and provides two main areas of support

a. The Signpost Mentoring Scheme, where trained student mentors work with new first year undergraduates to enable a positive transition into higher education.
b. Mentoring, financial and other forms of support for those students entering higher education from a care leaver background.

10. The Accommodation Office interfaces with the University’s halls and holds an up-to-date register of local private addresses. The staff regularly provide students with information and advice.

Wellbeing and Health

11. The aim of the Wellbeing Service https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student-support/   is to ensure that the Aberystwyth experience is one in which health and wellbeing is integral to students’ everyday life at university. The focus is on supporting students to take responsibility and be self-reliant. The Service works with students to build resilience and to develop a toolkit of skills which enable students to self-manage issues they may face both during their time at University and in their post University life. The Wellbeing Service does not duplicate or replace statutory provision but facilitates support pathways which enable students to access appropriate statutory and other community services where necessary. The Service is also able to provide advice and support for staff in their interactions with students encountering wellbeing difficulties and operates the University’s Fitness to Attend and Return procedures.

Accessibility

12. The University aims to provide all students with an experience of the highest quality, and to make academic facilities available to all who meet our entrance requirements.

13. For disabled students, those with long standing health conditions or a specific learning difference, a range of adjustments/support can be put in place e.g., adapted accommodation, enabling technology and individual examination arrangements.

14. The Service provides advice and information to applicants and students (including care leavers, disabled students and those with learning differences) about provision available for specific needs at the University; supports disabled students in making the most of their attendance at Open or Visit Days; provides advice and support about the Disabled Students’ Allowance and is proactive in encouraging applicants to communicate their needs early in the admissions process so as to ensure appropriate support is in place on arrival.

15. For those students ineligible for the Disabled Students’ Allowances the University provides funds from its own budget to ensure students with specific needs are not disadvantaged.  We also work in partnership with Bangor University to provide a Study Needs Assessment Centre.

16. Two mentoring schemes sit within Accessibility Services: one specialist mentoring scheme for disabled students and the other a scheme primarily aimed at supporting first year transition.

17. Support for care leavers also sits within Accessibility Services and a named individual has responsibility for contact pre-arrival and support during their studies. Every care leaver is allocated a more experienced student as a mentor, which also assists the mentor to develop employability skills. The Service also supports a network of Departmental Disability Co-ordinators.

Advice, Information and Money Service

18. The Student Advice and Information Service provides information, advice, support and referral on a wide range of issues. For example, providing  a listening ear on any worry or concern and signposting students to specialist services both within the University or elsewhere; providing advice on managing money and checking entitlement to student funding; providing information to students (but not representation) about University rules and regulations including academic regulations or harassment; advising on withdrawal or change of course. The service also administers the University’s Hardship Fund.

Safeguarding

19. The Director of Student Support Services is the Designated Reporting Officer for all safeguarding issues and plays a key role in ensuring the University is compliant in respect of its Prevent Duty. This includes safeguarding issues in respect of the University’s Prevent Duty.