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Learning Support

Student Support at Hopwood Hall offers a wide range of services for all learners including those with additional needs. Students can access specialist and individualised support to help them maximise their potential whilst at college and beyond.

Who can we support?

We can provide support for students with additional learning needs as clearly identified by a Learning Difficulty Assessment or Education, Health and Care Plan. If you do not have a learning difficulty or disability you can speak to your subject tutor or Progress Tutor who will support you on programme.

If a prospective student has significant or complex needs that may require additional staffing or resources then the application will be forwarded to the Local Authority for their consideration.

The college offers a curriculum ranging from Entry Level 1 to Higher Education including the Skills for Life curriculum. Currently there is no curriculum provision for Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.

We will attend meetings to support students with transition into college and learners will be assessed on an individual basis.

What support can we offer?

Following an assessment of learning requirements, the Learning Support Team will provide an individual plan to meet students’ needs which will be reviewed each term.

The types of support we offer could include:

  • Transitional support including individual taster days
  • Weekly progress tutorials with your Progress Tutor
  • In and out of class learning support
  • Support for hearing and visual impairments
  • Support for English and Maths
  • Study Skills
  • Adaptation of learning materials
  • Assistive technology and equipment
  • Mobility support
  • Personal care
  • Exam Access Arrangements
  • Signposting to external agencies
  • Safeguarding, pastoral and welfare support
  • Counselling
  • Behaviour Support

What facilities can we offer?

  • Student support base rooms at both campuses
  • Study pods
  • Fully equipped personal care rooms at both campuses
  • The Hub - for you to visit at any time

How to access support

We aim to make the transfer to college as easy as possible. To access support you can:

  • Speak to your Positive Steps or Connexions Advisor
  • Contact Learning Support or the Marketing Team at the college before you apply
  • Tick the relevant boxes on your application form
  • Inform the tutor at your interview
  • Visit the Student Support desk at Open Days or enrolment
  • Ask your tutors or your Student Support Tutor to make a referral
  • Higher Education (HE) Students

The application for support for HE students is made by accessing the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) website. Please contact your Progress Tutor or go to for more information. If you have already been given an allowance, please inform the Student Support Team.

Higher Education Disability Support - Disability Students’ Allowance (DSA)

Applying for a higher education course? You may be able to access support from Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), a government funded scheme designed to help with the costs incurred as the result of a disability, medical condition, Specific Learning difficulty (SpLD) such as dyslexia or mental health condition.

DSA funding is allocated to the individual student and not the College. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they engage fully in the process of applying for DSA. The allowance can help pay for study related support, including specialist equipment. The support you get depends on your individual needs and not on income.

DSAs are not:

  • A loan - so you will not have to repay them when you have graduated
  • Classed as income - so do not affect state benefits

Am I eligible?

You are eligible for a DSA if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You are taking a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK (including Open University and distance learning courses) that lasts at least one year.
  • You normally live in the UK.
  • You can prove you have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study.

To apply for financial help through Disabled Students' Allowances, you must be eligible. It's worth checking this before you make your application. Use Ability Net’s free HE Support Checker, or Contact Associates’ free eligibility checker to find out.

How do I apply for a DSA?

You don’t have to have a confirmed place on your course before you apply for your DSA, and there is no deadline for applications, but it is best to apply as soon as possible to help ensure there are no delays to the start of your support.

You will be asked to provide proof of your disability, medical health condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty (e.g. a diagnostic assessment of dyslexia, or letter from a medical professional).

You'll have to pay for any tests to establish your eligibility for Disabled Students' Allowances if you don’t have any current proof.

  1. Apply for Student Finance, and let them know you wish to apply for the DSA. You’ll then receive a DSA application form. Fill in a DSA application form. Return the form as soon as possible to Student Finance England.
  2. Step 2 - Receive your eligibility notification. If you are eligible for DSA, Student Finance England will write and tell you. Once your eligibility for DSA is confirmed, Student Finance England may ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help you need.
  3. Receive your entitlement notification. Once Student Finance England receive the results of your needs assessment, they will write and let you know if DSAs can pay for any specialist equipment and other support that has been recommended in your needs assessment.
  4. The details of your DSA and needs assessment report will then be sent to the disability adviser at your chosen university or college. If you have an EHC plan, with your permission, your local home authority will forward the details to the DSA assessor as proof of your eligibility.

What support can I get?

The DSA for students in England is made of up four parts:

  1. Non-medical helper allowance – an annual payment to help cover the costs of academic support (e.g. a sign language interpreter).
  2. Specialist equipment allowance – a one-off payment to cover items required for you to study (e.g. assistive technology software). If you require a computer, you will need to pay the first £200.
  3. Travel allowance – reasonable spending on additional costs incurred as a result of a disability (this does not cover everyday costs you would expect to pay for).
  4. General allowance – an annual payment to cover any other disability-related expenses not mentioned (e.g. braille books and photocopying).

To find out more click here.

British Sign Language (BSL)

There are a suite of British Sign Language (BSL) videos aimed at prospective students with deafness and hearing loss in England:

Student finance explained BSL - YouTube

Funding for students with disabilities and other needs BSL - YouTube

Who can help me in college?

Our Learning Support Team in college can help you:

  • Complete your DSA application
  • Contact your DSA supplier
  • Liaise with assessors/DSA/tutors
  • Help with queries for your support

We are open for appointments Monday to Friday, 9.00-4.00.

For general enquiries or to book an appointment please contact Learning Support Manager, Nicola Metcalfe:


Tel: 0161 643 7560 Ext. 3815

Contact details

Nicola Metcalfe

Learning Support Manager



Learning Support Coordinator



Learning Support Coordinator


Tracey Marrow

Safeguarding and Welfare Manager & Designated Safeguarding Lead



SLT Safeguarding Lead