Disability Tutor-Adviser (SpLD & Other Neurodiversity)
Responsible for (Staff)
Job Purpose Statement
As a member of ALS (Additional Learning Support: the disabilities and dyslexia service team at the University of Surrey) and working closely with the Disabilities Manager and Disability Advisers, the Disability Tutor-Adviser (SpLD & Other Neurodiversity) will be responsible for the delivery of tutoring and mentoring on an individual or group basis to disabled students, primarily working with students with Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs), autism and other neurodiversities. The post holder will contribute to the developing of the ALS as a service, as well as work with the wider Learning Development team on projects and activities from the perspective of supporting the needs of disabled students. This will include developing resources and guidance information and contributing to University staff development. Through the provision of these services, the post holder contributes to a positive student experience.
Key Responsibilities This document is not designed to be a list of all tasks undertaken but an outline record of the main responsibilities (5 to 8 maximum)
Support Activity To provide specialist study skills tutoring on a one-to-one basis and to create and deliver group sessions on essay writing skills, critical thinking, time management skills, revision strategies, Etc,. The post holder will keep appropriate records of teaching and learning.
To provide specialist mentoring support primarily to students with Autistic Spectrum Conditions. This may include study support but will also require advice, guidance, appropriate referral and, if appropriate, advocacy on behalf of students. This role will operate within a well-established network of support and with close cooperation with the ALS team.
To identify the learning needs of disabled students in the context of their programme, but guided by professional reports which may include SpLD assessments, medical reports and DSA Needs Assessments.
To liaise with the Disabilities Manager and Disability Advisors, Disability Mentor-Advisers (Mental Health, Autism Spectrum Condition) and other team members to make arrangements for supporting neurodiverse and disabled students, e.g. DSA, extra tuition and special examinations.
Development To keep abreast of, and share knowledge of, developments across the sector and identify good practice in learning development, disability support and related activities in order to support future developments within the University.
To work with the ALS and Disability Manager in implementing and developing policies and procedures for students with neurodiverse conditions and disabilities. To support the Disabilities Manager with the development, organisation, promotion and evaluation of services.
Contribute to staff-training in, and awareness of, disability-related issues, within the service, within LLSS and across the University, working towards greater understanding of disability and mainstreaming of support institutionally.
Work collaboratively and independently on a range of projects to improve student experience, including developing study resources and website and print service-guidance materials.
N.B. The above list is not exhaustive.
All staff are expected to:
Positively support equality of opportunity and equity of treatment to colleagues and students in accordance with the University of Surrey Equal Opportunities Policy.
Work to achieve the aims of our Environmental Policy and promote awareness to colleagues and students.
Follow University/departmental policies and working practices in ensuring that no breaches of information security result from their actions.
Ensure they are aware of and abide by all relevant University Regulations and Policies relevant to the role.
Undertake such other duties within the scope of the post as may be requested by your Manager.
Work supportively with colleagues, operating in a collegiate manner at all times.
Help maintain a safe working environment by:
Attending training in Health and Safety requirements as necessary, both on appointment and as changes in duties and techniques demand.
Following local codes of safe working practices and the University of Surrey Health and Safety Policy.
Elements of the Role
This section outlines some of the key elements of the role, which allow this role to be evaluated within the University’s structure. It provides an overview of what is expected from the post holder in the day-to-day operation of the role.
Planning and Organising
The post holder will work in a proactive and independent manner to deliver specialist learning development and other core service requirements, including student- and staff -facing advice, training, guidance materials and resources. There will be a high degree of discretion over the way these objectives are achieved and approaches are taken, provided that activities meet student requirements and are consistent with departmental objectives and any guidance provided. The post holder will take responsibility for defining their priorities clearly in terms of work and schedules to ensure that key deadlines and objectives are met, without supervisory approval.
Problem Solving and Decision Making
The post holder is expected to provide advice and solutions to routine day-to-day problems within the specialist area in which they are familiar. Resolution for these issues will usually be found through referring to their previous experience of similar problems or through making reference to departmental policies, processes and procedures and applying them. Professional understanding and experience must be applied when determining reasonable adjustments and evaluating documentary evidence of a disability. Disabled students present with multi-faceted issues and therefore, the post holder is expected to use initiative and judgement to address and resolve these more complicated problems, conducting effective analysis of the problem faced and using creative and lateral thinking to ensure that the solution is appropriate and feasible for the context. Where the post holder faces issues/problems which are of a more complex nature or fall outside of the remit of their role, advice and support can be sought from the Disabilities Manager or through colleagues, respecting issues of confidentiality, responsibility and accountability. The post holder is however, expected to have a degree of involvement in finding and implementing resolutions.
The post holder is expected to take a pro-active approach to review and evaluate work practices/materials in order to identify areas for improvement. They will support the Disabilities Manager, as well as the Learning Development Manager, with the development, organisation, promotion and evaluation of the service and will implement changes under their guidance where appropriate. The post holder is expected to keep up-to-date with developments across the sector and to identify good practice in student learning support, identifying and supporting needs within the HE environment
The aim of the core tutoring and mentoring aspects of the post is to develop the learner’s autonomy, which may include learning effective study skills or strategies to make best use of reasonable adjustments or specialist software. It is envisaged that no more than four-fifths of the role will be student facing. The post holder will need to demonstrate a confident communication style and contribute to the development of the University staff’s understanding of the purpose of adjustments, legislative obligations and the needs of students, and to effectively provide advice to undergraduate and postgraduate students (including PhD students) from across the University’s three Faculties on a range of study issues. This contact will primarily be through one-to-one appointments but will also include workshops or advisory sessions. The post holder is expected to be creative and innovative in their delivery to students, who may present them with a wide range of issues that they wish to address and skills they would like to develop. They must also develop training materials and other guidance materials including web-based resources, some of which may be developed in conjunction with the Learning Development team as part of wider resources development projects. The post holder must be responsive to the needs of their audience, in order to ensure the professional and effective delivery of information.
The post holder does not have any budgetary responsibility within this role and there is no supervision or management of other members of staff. The post holder predominately impacts upon the student community in terms of the service provision the post holder offers.
Person Specification This section describes the sum total of knowledge, experience & competence required by the post holder that is necessary for standard acceptable performance in carrying out this role.
Qualifications and Professional Memberships
Professional membership of one of the following organisations: PATOSS (full or associate membership), BDA (full professional membership), ADSHE (professional membership) or Dyslexia Guild (member, associate or fellow membership), plus significant relevant experience.
Degree AND comprehensive training in adult autism, which must include all 5 NAS core autism online training modules, or other equivalent training delivered by an appropriately qualified trainer.
NB: If relevant training has not already been completed, it is an essential requirement of the position that all five NAS core autism online training modules are completed during the 6 month probation period.
PG Certificate in Autism / PG Certificate in Asperger’s.
A teaching qualification OR willingness to undertake a teaching qualification.
Technical Competencies (Experience and Knowledge) This section contains the level of competency required to carry out the role (please refer to the Competency Framework for clarification where needed and the Job Matching Guidance).
Knowledge of the needs of, and experience of working with, students with specific learning differences, specifically in a higher education setting
An understanding of neurodiversity and the needs of students with conditions within this area.
Have, or willingness to undertake, wider HE Learning & Teaching qualification, e.g., PG Cert, Graduate Certificate, or equivalent qualification.
Creative thinker, able to develop and support appropriate and innovative approaches that will be of benefit to staff and students
Familiarity with key approaches to student learning development and how these can be adapted for the needs of students with diverse needs
A commitment to student-centred approaches to learning development
Experience of working effectively with students with mental health conditions
A knowledge of the uses of assistive technology for study
The post holder will work flexibly and, where needed, outside of core hours.
The post holder will work outside of term time to support students and develop service provision
Core Competencies This section contains the level of competency required to carry out this role. (Please refer to the competency framework for clarification where needed). n/a (not applicable) should be placed, where the competency is not a requirement of the grade.
This Job Purpose reflects the core activities of the post. As the Department/Faculty and the post holder develop, there will inevitably be some changes to the duties for which the post is responsible, and possibly to the emphasis of the post itself. The University expects that the post holder will recognise this and will adopt a flexible approach to work. This could include undertaking relevant training where necessary.
Should significant changes to the Job Purpose become necessary, the post holder will be consulted and the changes reflected in a revised Job Purpose.
Organisational/Departmental Information & Key Relationships
The Disability Tutor-Advisers (SpLD & other Neurodiversity)are located organisationally within Additional Learning Support (ALS) and line-managed by the Disabilities Manager. The ALS is part of the wider Learning Development Area of Library and Learning Support Services (LLSS) and, as part of this area, is engaged in student learning development and support, as well as staff training and development.
ALS facilitates the learning of students in a variety of different ways. The team works with students in broadly three ways:
a) To make adjustments to access University life, in particular adjustments to assessment, but also to improve access to the environment and to amend procedures or practices;
b) To develop students’ own study strategies and independent learning;
c) To refer to, or work with, appropriate services and departments.
Department Structure Chart
ALS staff work with other University departments such as the wider Library, including the SPLASH(Student Personal Learning and Study Hub) learning development team, Faculty Engagement Librarians, the Centre for Wellbeing, the Student Services Centre, Accommodation, Estates & Facilities, Security and Equality & Diversity. ALS works through well-established networks of administrators, faculty disability representatives and programme directors to deliver individual student adjustments.