Disclosure and confidentiality

We strongly advise you to disclose your disability so that we can provide confidential advice about your options for support. You can do this when you apply to university, on your application form, or once you are here, by contacting us or your School Disability Coordinator.

If you do not tell us about your disability, you may not receive the full range of support available.


Disclosing your disability will not negatively influence your application, your grades or the qualification you receive.

Anything you tell us will be classed as sensitive personal data and will be treated confidentially.


Disability Services is part of Student Services, which is comprised of services that work together to support you. You should read the information below in conjunction with the Education and Student Experience Confidentiality Statement and the University’s Fair Processing Notice.

The University has a duty (Equality Act 2010) to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled students. We therefore ask for information and evidence about your disability so that we can determine these ‘adjustments’ (and other support) with you.

To make ‘reasonable adjustments’ and to support you effectively, we may also need to share your information with certain people. We only share relevant information where it is necessary to establish and/or put support in place for you, and we only share this information with people involved in this process. Examples of this may include (but are not limited to):

Staff within the University:

  • Your Academic School or Centre, so that the staff responsible for teaching or supporting you are aware of your recommended ‘adjustments’.
  • The Examinations Office, so that they can put any recommended Alternative Exams Arrangements (AEAs) in place for you.
  • The Library, so that they can contact you about how they can support you.
  • Other Student Services, who may be able to offer you additional support (though please note that in some circumstances it will be possible to share information about you for this purpose without your consent).
  • Other Student Services, who may be able to offer you additional support.
  • University Panels, including providing information to Fitness to Study Panels (e.g. about your recommended ‘adjustments’).

External bodies:

  • Funding Bodies (e.g. Student Finance England) and Needs Assessment Centres, as part of your application for funded support (e.g. Disabled Students’ Allowances).
  • External Support Providers and External Support Workers, who deliver your funded support (e.g. Non-Medical Helper support).
  • Placement providers, such as employers you undertake a placement with, or Study Abroad Host Institutions.

We therefore ask for your consent to use and share your information in this way.

You can choose not to give us your consent, but the support that we can establish and/or put in place for you may be limited. This is because we may not be able to tell people involved in this process what they can do to support you.

In certain exceptional circumstances (e.g. where there is an immediate and serious threat to your safety or to the safety of others), we may use and share your information without your consent.

We may also contact you with information about our services and/or your support, which would important or beneficial for you to know.

Consent to sharing information with third parties

In the UK, a person is legally an adult at 18 years of age. This means that the majority of university students are adults when they start their university education. Adults are entitled to specified considerations with regard to confidentiality and data protection. For this reason, Disability Services will not communicate with the parents or relatives of adult students, or other third parties, without a student’s written consent.

However, we also recognise that for some students it is beneficial to continue to involve parents (or other third parties) in decision-making. In these cases, a student may give written consent to share information with a third party – with the proviso that consent is freely given by the student in private consultation (no third parties present) with Disability Services and which the student can withdraw (please see below).

Consent to share information with a third party will last until the end of a student’s course, or until the student withdraws the consent. Withdrawal of consent can be done in writing at any time by emailing disability-services@bristol.ac.uk.

The point of contact at Disability Services will be the Disability Advisers, who are contactable by emailing disability-services-advice@bristol.ac.uk. Alternatively third parties may contact our Reception to ask for a call or email from a Disability Adviser.

The student will be copied into all email correspondence between Disability Services and third parties, and telephone calls about the student will be summarised in an email to the student.

In certain exceptional circumstances (e.g. where there is an immediate and serious threat to your safety or to the safety of others), we may contact third parties without your consent. This will be done in line with the Student Emergency Contact Procedure.

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