Support available

To make sure everyone can enjoy university and get the most out of it, we offer specific support and advice to students with additional challenges or responsibilities

To find out what might be available to you, click on a statement that best describes your situation.

Many of our students are classed as mature (aged over 21) when they start their course so many of them are parents.

We realise that when you have children, studying can be more difficult. You may need to arrange childcare and will probably have limited time and more financial commitments, but support is out there.

If you have children under the age of 15, you may be eligible for funding, which could pay for up to 85% of your childcare costs throughout the whole year. Find out more about the Childcare Grant and Parents’ Learning Allowance.

There’s a Student Parents and Carers Society at the University so it might be worth asking them for advice or even joining the society for moral support!

If you are moving to Derby and need to arrange childcare or a school for your children, you can get more information from the Derby City Council website. Useful links:

If you are breastfeeding your child and need to express milk or breastfeed on campus, that’s no problem. There are private areas to do this on the Derby and Buxton campuses, including access to a fridge.

Many of our students are classed as mature (aged over 21 at the beginning of their course) so you will certainly not feel isolated.  
 
As well as being among the most academically successful, mature students bring valuable experience and enthusiasm to our university community.  
 
However, if you have been out of education for a while, you may be worried about coping. If so, our Study Skills classes and Study Mentors Scheme can help you refresh your academic skills and answer any questions you have. 
 
Recognise your maturity as an asset. You may be afraid of walking into the lecture hall to find you are the oldest person in the room but don’t forget, everyone else is nervous too. Your experience of life will be really valuable when it comes to seminar and tutorial groups as long as you don’t dominate discussions.   
 
Try to get to know people on your course, no matter what their age. This can help you feel more socially connected. You can even start to make friends before you arrive through our Facebook page – look for the prospective students group for your year. 
 
If you need to find accommodation in Derby, don’t dismiss halls of residence. We reserve blocks in each hall for mature students. You can look around halls during an Open Day or at one of our regular Campus Tours.  
 
If you decide halls aren’t for you or if you need to find a house for you and your family, contact our Accommodation team. They can show you university-approved accommodation. 
 
Read more tips for mature students

Our Student Wellbeing Service can help you while you are studying here. Here are some examples of support you may be eligible for:

  • A support worker to help with day to day issues, such as understanding ambiguous language in course materials 
  • A special tour of our campus when the site is quiet, as well as maps of the buildings 
  • Specialist equipment and software for your studies 
  • Extra time in exams
  • Help to prepare you for changes in routine, for example, at the end and beginning of each term and during exam periods 

What to do next:

We know that students who ask for support are much more likely to enjoy and do well at university, so please let us know about your condition as early as you can. We can then start preparing your support.
 
There are lots of practical ways we can help before you start university. For example, arranging a visit in the quieter summer months and helping you to come up with strategies to adjust to university life, particularly in those first few weeks. We can also help you apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) if necessary.
 
If you receive ongoing support from your local mental health teams, we recommend that you ask for a referral to Derby as early as possible. That will avoid any gaps in support when you first arrive at university, which is one of the most challenging times.
 
Some services, like the Early Intervention Service for instance, will be happy to provide you with support in two places – in Derby and at your current home address during holiday periods. Ask your support service about this.
 
Consider coming to our Get Ahead event in September – it’s specifically for students who need extra support. It allows you to enrol on your course a few days early and get to know the campus before the other students arrive.

We’re proud of the diversity of our student and staff community. Our University is a Stonewall Diversity Champion so it’s important to us that we support all students from gender and sexual minorities (GSM).

What does that mean in practice?

  • We do not tolerate any form of homophobic or transphobic bullying or harassment
  • We can offer counselling if you are questioning or concerned about your gender or sexuality 
  • The Students' Union has a very active LGBTQ+ Society which you might want to join. They organise socials, trips, educational talks and more 
  • Our chaplaincy  teams in Derby and Buxton provide a safe place to discuss issues of faith and sexuality/gender without judgment. There are chaplains from many Christian faiths and a team of faith advisers representing a variety of different faith traditions
  • Derby is a relatively small and safe city. It is also fairly accepting and there isn't a large amount of reported homophobic or transphobic violence, but as with any city, you should be careful. For advice on GSM-friendly nightclubs and bars, contact the student-run LGBTQ+ Society

Our Student Wellbeing team can provide a wide range of support to you, depending on your needs. Get in touch with us early so we can start to prepare.

One of our advisers may be able to meet you at an Open Day or course interview. Alternatively, we could set up a visit just for you.

  • We usually put a support plan in place and this may include reasonable adjustments to the way you are taught or assessed, such as:
  • Extra time to complete assignments
  • Extra time in exams 
  • Extensions to library loans

We can also give you advice on applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), which could really benefit you.

Consider coming to our Get Ahead event in September – it’s specifically for students who need extra support. It allows you to enrol on your course a few days early and get to know the campus before the other students arrive. Find out more about our Get Ahead event.

Do you think you might have a learning difficulty but have not yet been assessed? Find out more about Dyslexia, DyspraxiaDysgraphia or Dyscalculia

Hear about Sarah’s experience as a student with dyslexia.

Our Student Wellbeing team can provide a wide range of support to you, depending on your needs. Get in touch with us early so we can start to prepare.

One of our advisers may be able to meet you at an Open Day or course interview. Alternatively, we could set up a visit just for you.

  • We usually put a support plan in place and this may include reasonable adjustments to the way you are taught or assessed, such as:
  • Extra time to complete assignments
  • Extra time in exams
  • Alternative assessments
  • Extensions to library loans

We can also give you advice on:

  • Applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), which can really benefit you 
  • Transferring any support you currently receive to Derby
  • University accommodation (halls) and the types of rooms that might be suitable for you

Consider coming to our Get Ahead event in September – it’s specifically for students who need extra support. It allows you to enrol on your course a few days early and get to know the campus before the other students arrive.

We can help you during your application and once you’re studying here. For example, we can help you fill in forms, arrange a mentor for you and give you advice on what funding is available to pay for your tuition fees and living costs.

We can also help you arrange accommodation, childcare, mental health support or any other service you might need.

Please read our SWS Care Leavers Booklet for more information.

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