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I am dyslexic and have been refused extra time to complete an exam. Is there anything I can do?

I am dyslexic and have been refused extra time to complete an exam. Is there anything I can do?

Dyslexia should not stand in the way of a person's right to receive a university education, nor should the standard of that person's education differ from that of other students. The following represents a quick guide to the support that you as a dyslexic student should be receiving from your university and what you should do if you feel that that level of support is not forthcoming.

Dyslexia amounts to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. What this means is that now any educational institution, including schools, colleges and universities, are obligated under UK law to make reasonable adjustments for dyslexic pupils and students. The precise level of the support offered can vary, but generally speaking, all dyslexic students should be offered the following forms of assistance:

  • They should be given extra time to complete written assignments.
  • They should also be given extra time to complete written examinations.
  • They should be referred to the university’s disability services to arrange a needs assessment (which may lead to other provisions, such as specialist software).

What to do when your university is not supporting you

Even if you thoroughly investigated your educational institution and chose it specifically because you were encouraged that they would be supportive to your needs, you may find that you're not actually receiving the assistance and understanding that you require and to which you are legally entitled.

If this is the case, what you should do in the first instance is seek help from someone within the institution who you feel you can trust. This might be your study professor, a lecturer, a head of faculty, a student services representative or welfare officer - anyone you feel will be able to help you gain the support you require.

Occasionally, however, your pleas for help can fall on deaf ears or promises of assistance might be made but ultimately, no real changes are brought into effect. Unfortunately, as the British Dyslexia Association is only too well aware, not all educational institutions are created equally and some simply lack supportive or well-trained staff when it comes to dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Many universities focus on academic research rather than actual teaching, and sometimes, as a result, their student welfare system does not come up to scratch.

In these cases, Match Solicitors can help...

If you have spoken to people within your college or university, but you are still not receiving the appropriate support for your dyslexia, and, as a consequence, you're still struggling to receive what you feel are reasonable adjustments, you should give one of our dedicated higher education specialist solicitors a call.

Sometimes, sadly, some colleges or universities might respond appropriately and ensure that the right amount of support is provided only when reminded of their legal obligation to do so.

To speak to a member of our specialist legal team about your individual case in complete confidence, give us a call today and we can work out what your next step should be and how we can work together to get the support that you need.


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