DSA Funded Non-Medical Helper Roles

Manual Notetaker

The Notetaker is responsible for providing students with comprehensive unbiased notes. All notetakers are trained and qualified to provide a professional, confidential service.

Manual notetakers are:

  • All trained to provide a reliable, punctual and impartial service with clear boundaries of how to work professionally with students.
  • Not expected to participate in the students’ lecture/sessions.
  • Can write about 30 words per minute,
  • Will summarise a lot of the information and are trained to write down all the important details.

The primary requirement of this support is to make a comprehensive set of notes to meet the needs of the student for access, review and revision purposes. The note-taker will make a comprehensive although non-verbatim, typed or hand-written record of the content of lectures, seminars, discussions, off-campus events etc. in the student’s preferred style and format. 

The note-taker may be a manual notetaker (handwritten notes or handwritten notes that are later typed), make typed notes to be shared after the lecture or be a specialist electronic notetaker (ENT) providing ‘live’ access to notes. The Electronic Notetaker will provide virtually simultaneous access to spoken information through their notetaking.


Study Assistant

The Study Assistant acts as a general enabler or facilitator for supported students. They work alongside students to provide a range of support to assist with transition and integration from the beginning of the course.

This can include:

  • Providing students with orientation at the beginning of the academic until they are comfortable with the physical environment within the University,
  • Developing, in conjunction with the student, strategies and plans for managing personal, social and academic planning,
  • Encouraging and motivating students where problems of course work, attendance and deadlines may be of a concern,
  • Assisting the student in understanding the tools used within the University such as WOLF, e:Vision, Pebble pad and other similar applications. 

Scribe (Amanuensis)/Reader

The role of the scribe (amanuensis) involves the support worker writing down, or typing what a student dictates in an examination or in-class assessment. This support is usually recommended as part of students Special Examination Arrangements and can be include:

  • Writing down, word for word, what the student says. This requires the student to include punctuations and to spell out technical words or names,
  • Reading exam questions, or reading information that the student may have written.
  • An allowance of extra time may be included with this type of support.

A scribe is not allowed to rephrase or paraphrase what is dictated to them. We recommend that students meet with their scribe before the examination to undertake a practice session.


Specialist One-to-One Study Skills Support

This service is provided to many disabled students (autism / mental health condition / long standing ill-health) and those diagnosed with specific learning difficulties/differences (dyslexia, dyspraxia, AD(H)D or dyscalculia). The focus of tuition is to support students to develop a wide range of strategies and skills such as:

  • Time management and organisation skills
  • Spelling and Grammar
  • Reading and writing strategies
  • Planning, research and finding suitable sources of information
  • Breaking tasks into practical, manageable steps
  • Structuring written work
  • Exam revision and techniques

Some of our specialist tutors are qualified to provide diagnostic assessments for students that may have specific learning difficulties.


Specialist Mentoring

The role of a specialist mentor is to provide highly specialist, one-to-one support to help students to address barriers to learning created by a particular impairment, for example, mental health conditions or autistic spectrum disorders. This could include a range of issues such as:

  • Coping with anxiety and stress
  • How to deal with concentration difficulties
  • Time management and prioritising your workload
  • Problem solving and finding solutions
  • Communicating with individuals
  • Assertiveness and relaxation techniques
  • Utilising other support effectively
  • Anticipating and planning for future tasks or goals.
    • Creating a suitable work-life balance. 

 The specialist mentor is there to help you to recognise any barriers to learning caused by a specific impairment and to help to develop strategies to overcome these barriers.


Language Support for deaf students

The Language Support Tutor provides specialist one-to-one English language enhancement for deaf students, either those whose first language is BSL or those who communicate orally.  The Language Support Tutor will give guidance on:


  • Spelling and grammar
  • English language vocabulary
  • Planning, research and finding suitable sources of information
  • Breaking tasks into practical, manageable steps
  • Structuring written work
  • Exam revision and techniques
  • Reading strategies

You should see your course tutor for guidance on the content of your assignments.


BSL Interpreters

Sign Language Interpreters at the University are Member of the Register of Sign Language Interpreters (MRSLI) or equivalent, Trainee Interpreter (TI). The Interpreters employed by SEC conform to the CACDP (Signature) Code of Practice for Sign Language Interpreters and Code of Ethics for Interpreters.

They facilitate communication between deaf students and university staff so that both parties receive equal access to information. The interpreter will not participate in any way other than to put into sign language what has been spoken and voice into English what has been signed.