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Post Details

Last Updated: 11/12/2015

Faculty/Administrative/Service Department

Library and Learning Support Services

Job Title

Specialist Learning Support Tutor

Job Family

Professional Services

Job Level

Level 4

Responsible to

Disability Manager

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 Specialist Learning Support Tutor 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), mental health and Autism Spectrum conditions. The post holder will contribute to the developing of the ALS as a service, as well as work with the wider Learning Development team in contributing to projects and activities from the perspective of supporting the needs of disabled students. 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

  1. To assess the learning needs of disabled students in the context of their programme, but guided by professional reports which may include SpLD assessments or medical reports.

  2. To provide academic learning support. This will involve designing 1:1 or group sessions on essay writing skills, time management skills, revision strategies etc, in response to individual students’ learning needs. The post holder will keep appropriate records of teaching and learning.

  3. To provide mentoring support to students. 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 Disability Advisors.

  4. To liaise with the Disabilities Manager and Disability Advisors and other Specialist Learning Support Tutors to make arrangements for supporting SpLD and disabled students, e.g. DSA, extra tuition, special examination arrangements, Assistive Technology Centre (ATC) support. This will include an active participation in team meetings.


  1. To keep abreast of developments across the sector and identify good practice in learning support, disability support and related activities in order to support future developments within the University.

  2. To work with the ALS and Disability Manager in implementing and developing policies and procedures for students with SpLD and disabled students.

  3. To support the Disabilities Manager with the development, organisation, promotion and evaluation of services.

  4. Contribute to staff-training in, and awareness of, disability-related issues, within the service, within LLSS and across the University.

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 a specialist learning support and mentoring service. There will be a high degree of discretion over the way this objective is achieved and the approach taken, provided that activities meet student requirements and are consistent with departmental objectives and any guidance provided. They 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 well-established 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.

Continuous Improvement

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 provided 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 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. They will need to demonstrate a confident communication style and contribute to the development of the University staff’s understanding of ‘additional learning support’ 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 could also include workshops or drop-in 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 promotional materials including web-based resources, some of which may be developed in conjunction with the Learning Development team as part of a wider resources development project. The post holder must be responsive to the needs of their audience, in order to ensure the professional and effective delivery of information.

Dimensions of the role

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.

Supplementary Information

  • n/a

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

Degree, HND, NVQ 4 qualified or equivalent qualification, plus a number of years relevant experience


Significant vocational experience demonstrating the acquisition of appropriate professional knowledge


SpLD specialist teacher certificate


Qualified teacher / lecturer with B.Ed or PGCE or equivalent


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 students with specific learning difficulties in a higher education setting



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 study skills and how these can be adapted for the needs of students with diverse needs



A commitment to student centred approaches to study skills



A commitment to an understanding of diverse problems, e.g. needs of students with mental health issues (MH) or Asperger Syndrome (AS).



Willingness to work with students with MH and AS



A knowledge of the uses of assistive technology for study



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.




Adaptability / Flexibility

Customer/Client service and support

Planning and Organising

Continuous Improvement

Problem Solving and Decision Making Skills

Managing and Developing Performance

Creative and Analytical Thinking

Influencing, Persuasion and Negotiation Skills

Strategic Thinking & Leadership











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

Background Information The Specialist Learning Support Tutors 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 the students’ own study strategies and independent learning;

c) To refer to, or work with, appropriate services and departments.

Once Disability Advisors in ALS have defined the adjustments required by a student in order that they can access University life, in particular adjustments to assessment, Specialist Learning Support Tutors work with students to develop the students’ own strategies and independent learning.

Department Structure Chart


ALS staff work with other University departments such as the wider Library, including the SPLASH learning development team (comprising Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians), Faculty Engagement Librarians, the Wellbeing Centre, the Health Centre and Student Care Services. ALS works through well-established networks of administrators, faculty disability representatives and programme directors to deliver individual student adjustments.

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