CSC disability support statement

The CSC is committed to supporting talented individuals who have the potential to make change and encourages applications from a diverse range of candidates. We have a policy of equal opportunity and non‐discrimination and we are committed to supporting disabled scholars to excel. We respect your privacy and any information provided by you or on your behalf will be treated in the strictest confidence.

In the UK, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

Under the Equality Act (2010), the following conditions and study needs are recognised as disabilities:

  • A specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD
  • A learning disability (such as Down’s syndrome)
  • A social/communication impairment such as an autism spectrum condition, including Asperger’s syndrome
  • A long-standing illness or health condition such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, chronic heart disease, or epilepsy
  • A mental health condition, such as depression, schizophrenia or anxiety disorder
  • Physical impairment or mobility issues, such as using a wheelchair or crutches or difficulty using arms
  • Being deaf or hard of hearing
  • Being blind or having a serious visual impairment uncorrected by glasses

During the application process

Your nominating agency will be aware that the CSC offers support to Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows with disabilities.

When you apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship, you will be asked to disclose if you have any health issues or disabilities. This information is entirely confidential; it is not seen by your nominating agency or the selection panel, and will not affect the outcome of your application.

On your application, you will also be asked to provide a personal statement. This includes details of how you have overcome any personal or community barriers to higher education. You may wish to discuss your disability in your personal statement but you do not have to.

Please be aware that this statement will be seen by your nominating agency and the selection panel, and will be taken into account in your application process.

Before your scholarship/fellowship

For Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows studying in the UK

If you are provisionally selected for a scholarship or a fellowship, you will be required to submit a health and disability form, which asks if you have a disability and if you are likely to need any special provision or treatment during your award.

We strongly encourage you to disclose any disabilities at this early stage. This will provide the CSC with a clear picture of your needs, so that arrangements can be made for your welfare in the UK, should you be successful in gaining a scholarship. Any sensitive personal data that you provide will be handled with maximum discretion.

We will use the information provided to determine what (if any) additional support you may need to excel in your studies, during your academic and daily life, and/ or at CSC events.  Examples of actions will depend on your needs but may include: liaising with your university/host organisation (with your permission) to ensure you are supported; advising you about any preparations you need to make before you arrive in the UK or anything you may need to bring; advising the CSC’s travel provider of any considerations that need to be made for your travel to the UK. We are committed to ensuring you are well supported during your studies and will work with you to understand your needs.

Please note, whilst we strongly encourage early disclosure it is possible to declare a disability at any stage of your award.

For Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholars

If you are provisionally selected for a distance learning scholarship, you will have the option to declare a disability when you accept the scholarship. Your award acceptance form asks if you have a physical or learning disability and if you are likely to need any special provision or treatment during your award.

We strongly encourage you to disclose any disabilities at this early stage. This is to provide the CSC with a clear picture of your study needs and how we can support you. Any sensitive personal data that you provide will be handled with maximum discretion.

If you declare a disability, we will send you a disability questionnaire to complete. This is optional, but we strongly encourage you to complete it. We will use the information provided in this questionnaire to determine what (if any) support you may need to excel in your studies. We will also ask you in the form whether you give permission for the CSC to share your disability status with your UK university; we strongly advise you to give permission, as this will enable us to communicate openly with your UK university to ensure your study needs are met.

Once we receive the questionnaire, we will work with you to determine what (if any) action needs to be taken to ensure you are supported. Examples of actions will depend on your needs but may include: liaising with your university/host organisation (with your permission) to ensure your needs are met; advising you on any preparations you need to make before commencing study; assessing any equipment you may need to assist you during your study; discussing any needs you have to take part in exams or residential programmes as part of your programme of study.

Please note, whilst we strongly encourage early disclosure it is possible to declare a disability at any stage of your award.

During your scholarship/fellowship

The disability-related support the CSC provides for scholars is agreed and determined according to scholars’ individual needs. We will liaise with you to determine what support we can offer, and will take this into account in conjunction with the information that you have provided on the health and disability form, additional details provided by your university/host organisation (if they have conducted a needs assessment), and any other information about additional support that your university/host organisation is able to provide. Additional support provided by the CSC is intended to complement the support already provided by your university/host organisation, ensuring your needs are met throughout your award.

If your scholarship is tenable in the UK, the CSC will provide support for you in your personal life if your disability-related needs result in the costs of everyday activities being higher than they would be otherwise, or for costs to access services such as medical appointments and therapy. If you declare a disability on the form a full assessment of your needs and eligibility for additional financial support will be offered once you arrive to the UK.

The CSC organises events for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows, and coordinates attendance at events hosted by other organisations. If you apply to attend one of these events, you will be asked on the application form if you have a disability that requires any additional assistance. We will make every effort to put adjustments in place to enable you to attend and gain maximum benefit from the event.

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