Support worker service

Information for students

About the support worker service

The University runs a Support Worker Service (SWS), based within the Disability Service. The SWS can assist disabled students to identify and organise non-medical support workers in order to access their studies.

How is my need for a support worker identified?

Your support arrangements are normally agreed as part of your study needs assessment. A copy of your assessment report is then sent to your funding body (normally NHS Grants Unit or Student Finance England). Your funding body will then confirm whether they agree to fund the recommendation made for you to have a support worker.

I need a support worker what do I need to do?

If you have already applied for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) and attended a Study Needs Assessment, please follow the steps below to access your support.

If you have not applied for DSAs, please see our disabled students funding information for eligibility and how to apply. Having reviewed the criteria and believe you are not eligible for DSAs or the type of support you require is not covered by DSAs please make an appointment with a Disability Adviser

The first step is to decide whether you want to use the University's Support Worker Service (SWS). For most students, this will present the easiest option. If you do not want to use the SWS, we recommend that you contact Disability Service to discuss how you might make arrangements with your support worker(s).

Next steps

Arranging support workers for disabled students normally involves the steps outlined below. If your situation varies from those outlined below then contact the Disability Service to discuss this further.

  1. Contact the Disability Service and let them know your needs. If you have had a Disabled Student’s Allowances study needs assessment detailing your non-medical support worker requirements, you should supply the Disability Service with a copy of your report.
  2. As soon as your timetable is available, please provide a copy to the Support Worker Service (Room 1D15, Frenchay Campus or email A member of staff will discuss your support requirements with you based on the recommendations in your study needs assessment and the information in your timetable. You must tell the Support Worker Service if there are any changes to your timetable during your study.
  3. You will be asked to sign an agreement to the terms and conditions of the SWS before you are able to use the service. This will clarify how the Support Worker Service operates. The Support Worker Service will start putting your support in place and contact you with details of the arrangements. This will be done as soon as possible, but may take a couple of days depending on your needs and support worker availability.
  4. Meeting your Support Worker for the first time. Please inform your Support Worker if you have any specific support requirements.
  5. Sign the Support Worker's time sheet. At the end of each session you will be asked to sign a time sheet for the support worker. This confirms that you have received the support and that payment can be made to your support worker. Please note that time sheets must not be signed in advance.

What types of support workers are available through the SWS?

The Support Worker Service (SWS) can normally provide a linking service to the following support workers

  • British Sign Language Interpreter
  • Specialist notetaker (qualified)
  • Notetaker
  • Study Assistant
  • Library Support Assistant
  • Practical Support Assistant
  • Workshop/Laboratory Assistant
  • One-to-one Study Skills Tutor
  • specialist transcription service
  • Dyslexia and SpLD service
  • Specialist mentor

Please note: personal care is not offered through the SWS. Contact your local social services department if you require personal care assistance.

Can I change my support worker?

A good working relationship between a student and their support worker is essential. When setting up a new support arrangement, we want to ensure that both parties are satisfied. However, if things don't work out, you should discuss the situation with the Support Worker Service in the first instance to see if they can be resolved.

What happens if my lecture or other class is cancelled?

If your lecture or other class is cancelled inform the Support Worker Service as soon as possible. If your lecture is cancelled with less than a week’s notice, your support worker will still be paid.

What happens if I am ill or unable to attend?

If you are unable to attend University for any reason, please let the Support Worker Service know as soon as possible.

What happens if my support worker is ill or unavailable?

If your support worker is ill or unavailable, they will contact the Support Worker Service who will endeavor to provide cover where possible and will contact you to advise you of any changes.

How do I alter or cancel my support arrangement?

You need to contact the Support Worker Service if you want to make any permanent changes to your support arrangements eg due to a change in your timetable. View the Student Support and Wellbeing Cancellation Policy for further information on altering or cancelling your support arrangement.

Please note that students are not obliged to use the Support Worker Service to provide their support. Students are welcome to make their own support worker arrangements, if they wish.

Will I always have guaranteed support?

Although every effort is made to provide appropriate support the University is unable to guarantee that it will be available. This is dependent on local availability of support workers and demand for their services.

Back to top