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Senior Disability Practitioner

Student and Academic Services (SAS)

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 08th Feb 2021
  • Salary: £30,942 - £44,045 pro rata
  • REF: 5666
  • Closes: 01st March 2021
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Part Time

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.

Salary: £30,942 – £44,045 pro rata

Closing Date: 1 March 2021

The Role

The Student Wellbeing Service is seeking to appoint an exceptional candidate to the post of Senior Disability Practitioner to work within the Disability Team. The Student Wellbeing Service provides information, advice and guidance on a wide range of support issues. The Student Wellbeing Service has been designed to enable students to maximise their potential whilst at University. The service is free, confidential and available to all students.This is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic individual to join an expanding multi-disciplinary team.

You will raise awareness of and promote a positive, respectful and inclusive university culture, which enables a positive student experience with, access, progress and retention support for disabled students and work operationally with colleagues and key stake holders to meet strategic outcomes and ensure inclusivity for disabled students and compliance with relevant legislation. You will play a senior role in working creatively with students with disabilities and other co-occurring conditions to remove barriers to attainment and facilitate access to living, learning, teaching, assessment and further support and raise awareness of and promote a positive, respectful and inclusive university culture, which enables a positive student experience with, access, progress and retention support for disabled students. You will report to the Manager of the Disability Team to support the overall operational running and management of the Disability Team, and all business in relation to the University’s statutory duty to provide guidance, support and reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities, including mental health vulnerability and work operationally with colleagues and key stake holders to meet strategic outcomes and ensure inclusivity for disabled students and compliance with relevant legislation.

Please visit our webpages for further information on the range of services offered by Student Health and Wellbeing.

This is a 0.8 FTE open-ended post.

If, having read the job description and person specification, you require information that is not covered, please contact Sandy Alden by mail sandy.alden@ncl.ac.uk.

Key Accountabilities

  • Deputise for the Head of the Disability and provide support in the development of the Service, attending committee meeting as appropriate.
  • Provide day to day casework guidance and supervision for the team of Disability Practitioners.
  • Mentor Disability Practitioners and monitor progress against agreed quality and performance criteria. Provide effective feedback to Disability Practitioners to ensure optimum performance.
  • To act as a central point of contact for future and current students with a disability, including long-term mental health conditions.
  • To provide advice and information to students and key stake holders, on the provision of support services and facilities within and external to the University.
  • Manage a varied, complex and sensitive caseload of future and current students with disabilities, including those with long-term mental health conditions, who want to access disability support, often working with them over a long period of time.
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the additional mental health vulnerabilities of those from minority or marginalised backgrounds and the experience and action needed to support them effectively.
  • With equal efficacy offer a blend of individual present-in-person and digital meetings to identify relevant support and adjustments options, facilitate any ensuing communication with academic schools and other key stakeholders to resolve barriers to reasonable adjustment and support needs.
  • Provide advice, guidance and information, including advice on Disabled Students Allowances.
  • Undertake assessments of student needs and deliver one to one or small group interventions to help students develop effective strategies that support healthy behaviours, and positive engagement with study.
  • Proactively liaise with colleagues within the Examinations Office to implement additional examination arrangements for disabled students.
  • When directed plan, coordinate and participate in staff development activities.
  • To facilitate improvements in provision for disabled students, by holding a knowledge lead responsibility, in a wide range of settings by keeping abreast of issues affecting disabled students and participation within a variety of working groups.
  • To complete and maintain record keeping in a timely fashion, adhering to the Service policy and data protection requirements.
  • Contribute to the evaluation of the impact of support provided to students.
  • As identified by and with support of line manager undertake regular personal training and continuing professional development in order to remain updated with the knowledge of legislation and relevant research in disability related issues.
  • To keep abreast of internal and external developments that may impact upon support for disabled students. This includes, but is not exclusive to, government strategy, and sector best practice initiatives.
  • Adhere to and comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Laws along with the University’s Data Protection Policies.
  • To act as a consultant, and at times trainer, to university staff to provide support as they work with students with disabilities and long-term mental health conditions and vulnerabilities.
  • To liaise with both external bodies and internal colleagues to assist in providing adequate support for students with disabilities, including long-term mental health conditions and vulnerabilities. Refer and track referrals to other agencies as appropriate, to ensure students do not “slip through the net”.
  • To participate in promotion of the Student Health and Wellbeing activity, open days, receptions, Welcome Week which, from time to time, may require working out-of-hours i.e. evenings and weekends (only very occasional).

The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Considerable knowledge of and familiarity with the application of relevant legislation and the implications of this in an HE setting.
  • Understanding of the effects of a range of disabilities on individuals, family, friends, staff and potential impact on students’ University experience, and have a good understanding of risk management in relation to disability support.
  • Experience and/or training in the application of cross cultural mental health support.
  • Capacity to deal with a highly sensitive caseload and work collaboratively with others to create effective performance within a team.
  • Be able to evidence strong commitment to the principles of inclusivity, diversity and equal opportunities.
  • Ability to interpret and apply knowledge of policies and procedures.
  • Evidenced based advice and guidance skills.
  • A highly flexible working style.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Excellent communications skills.
  • Ability to exercise initiative and judgement in the appropriate management of student support and the ability to work independently.
  • Highly competent IT skills: Word, Excel, Email, Internet, Databases.
  • Ability to manage time and resources effectively by prioritising and organising a high volume, complex and varied workload.
  • Management of own caseload.
  • Experience of working with groups.
  • Presentation and/or training skills and experience, delivering to a diverse audience.

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Takes the initiative to ensure future success of the University and area by presenting new ideas and approaches.
  • Accepts the reality and requirements of change as part of achieving organisational goals.
  • Is supportive of others during change.
  • Anticipates change and prepares for it. Accepts change and ‘runs’ with it.
  • Establishes effective management control systems.
  • Effective at organising and managing complex workload.
  • Uses own and others’ time effectively.
  • Plans workload and tasks in a systematic way.
  • Sets own priorities in conjunction with University, team and area objectives.
  • Considers large amounts of complex information quickly and identifies key issues.
  • Recognises urgency and takes decisive action when required.
  • Confidently deals with a broad range of information.


  • A recognised degree or equivalent qualification and/or experience.
  • A relevant professional Qualification such as Advice and Guidance or Autism practice, registered Nurse Mental Health/ Social Worker/ Occupational Therapist etc.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent. We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

Requisition ID: 5666

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