I’d be lost without Inclusive Services at Edge Hill and I thought it would be useful to find out exactly what they do. I met with Daniel Robinson, an Inclusion Officer to get to know a bit more about his role.
I have known Dan for my whole three years at Edge Hill and he’s a really down to earth, approachable person. If I have any concerns, he’s usually one of the first people I contact.
Dan explained to me that to get in touch with Inclusive Services the student is generally signposted by a member of the academic staff or the student takes it upon themselves to see them; which is what I did, I knew I’d need some sort of assistance so sought out some advice.
He first asks students how they’re doing and is not interested in doctors’ diagnosis because the name of an illness does not explain what type of support the student needs. This is what he is interested in; he wants to know what type of assistance the student thinks they need then tells them what they can do. The, ‘I can’t do this’ attitude will not make you feel any better but Dan and the rest of the team will analyse exactly what you can do and then fill in the gaps.
The amount of support will also be taken into consideration and some students can be unrealistic, but the Inclusion Team will help the student become aware of the drop when they eventually leave University and be less dependent on support using various strategies.
For new students University is a huge change but Dan believes if you manage your condition and be in control of it; be ready for change as it is going to be tough the Inclusion Team will meet you halfway.
The Transition Project includes orienteering, anxiety about leaving home and meeting new friends as well as academic support. This is available to students pre-entry.
But are the departments aware of Inclusive Services or not? Tutors should be alerted when students’ attention, attendance, and work are on a decline and signpost them to the Inclusion Team. The earlier a student visits Inclusive Services the better but for some reason people avoid help and then require it in second/third year when they could have had it since the beginning of their degree. Many people think that utilizing the service means that ‘you have something wrong with you’ and that is not the case.
The team also has 25 learning facilitators and sometimes require agency staff to help out. I’ll be blogging more about learning facilitators next time.
Inclusive Services is also available for academic staff if they have queries regarding a student and need advice on reasonable adjustment.
The team work closely with Academic Registry and have to be aware to signpost the appropriate people to various departments, such as, Health and Wellbeing; Counselling; Financial Services; and Accommodation.
Dan is incredibly enthusiastic about his job and said he gets great satisfaction when a student graduates. He also hopes to change the mindset of those who think that you need to have ‘something wrong’ to visit the Inclusion Team.
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/EducationAndTraining/HigherEducation/DG_10034898) is based on the students needs and provides disabled students with extra financial help.
I’d like to thank Dan for his ongoing support and for hopefully opening the eyes of prospective students to the work of the Inclusion Team.