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Reasonable Accommodation Policy

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(1) This policy sets out the principles for the support of students with disabilities or long-term illness in participation in their programme and in assessment. It also assists Hibernia College to fulfil its legal responsibilities regarding the needs of these students.


To whom does the policy apply?

(2) The policy applies to students undertaking programmes validated by QQI leading to awards in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

(3) The policy applies to students with a disability or a long-term illness whether this is present at the commencement of the programme or arises during the programme.

(4) The policy does not apply where a student is seeking consideration for extenuating circumstances at the point of assessment.

Who is responsible for implementing the policy?

(5) The Department of the Registrar is responsible for implementing the policy, with the support of the Head of Student Affairs and in consultation with the relevant Programme Director, or nominee. 


(6) Reasonable Accommodation

‘A Reasonable Accommodation is any action that helps to alleviate a substantial disadvantage due to an impairment or medical condition.’ (AHEAD). In the context of supporting higher education students, a reasonable accommodation is any provision made for a particular student to allow them to demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes of a piece of learning without any disadvantage which may arise on the basis of their having a disability or long-term illness.

(7) Disability or Long-Term Illness

In the context of providing reasonable accommodations, a disability or illness must be long-term, meaning it generally will last more than a year. The disability must be substantial, meaning that the impairment, whether physical or mental, must be more than minor. A substantial restriction is a restriction which is permanent or likely to be permanent, results in a significant difficulty in communication, learning or mobility, or in significantly disordered cognitive processes, and gives rise to the need for services to be provided continually to the person.
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Section 2 - SECTION 2 - CONTEXT

Legal or Regulatory Context

Irish and European Law and Regulation

(8) This policy is intended to guide Hibernia College in meeting its obligations under Equal Status Act 2000.

(9) The College is also cognisant of the need for careful treatment of data in relation to students’ disabilities and illnesses. Therefore, the policy is designed with regard to Irish and European legislation in relation to the processing of sensitive personal information (Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council (General Data Protection Regulation) (2016)Official Journal of the European CommunitiesData Protection Act, 1998Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003).

Assessment and Standards

(10) Reasonable Accommodations granted by Hibernia College are granted in line with the sectoral conventions outlined in the QQI Assessment and Standards.

QA Guidelines

(11) This policy is designed with regard to the European Standards and Guidelines and QQI’s Core Statutory Quality Assurance Guidelines, both of which set out the requirement for the College to implement policy and procedure and providing access and support for students with disability and long-term illness.

Effective Practice Recommendations


(12) The College has adopted and strives to implement the Charter for Inclusive Teaching and Learning.


(13) The College has adopted the Dawn guidance document DAWN: Everything you wanted to know about Reasonable Accommodations and supporting students with disabilities but nobody bothered to tell you… to inform our approach to providing reasonable accommodation and developing policy and procedure to support provision.


(14) Hibernia College also adopts and strives to facilitate the use of the DARE: Disability Access Route to Education Handbook in dealing with students with disabilities.

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Part A - Principles for Reasonable Accommodation

Removing Disadvantage

(15) A reasonable accommodation removes any disadvantages.

(16) A reasonable accommodation does not provide advantages.


(17) Students seeking reasonable accommodation must disclose their rationale for seeking one.

(18) Normally, reasonable accommodation cannot be applied retrospectively to any assessment task and must be applied for in advance of assessment. 

(19) Hibernia College may need to disclose to members of Staff and Faculty that a student has a disability in order to provide reasonable accommodation. Application for a reasonable accommodation implies consent for those that need to be made aware of the student’s disability or long-term illness.

(20) Where disclosure of a disability or long-term illness is required to provide reasonable accommodation but this disclosure is not consented to, the College will not be able to provide reasonable accommodation.


(21) Normally, Hibernia College absorbs the cost of any reasonable accommodation provided they are agreed in writing with the College in advance of registration on the programme and/or in advance of any assessment task or participation in a learning activity in a particular physical learning environment.

(22) The College reserves the right to decide what is reasonable.

Student Responsibility

(23) Students are responsible for applying for reasonable accommodation; the College cannot be expected to seek to offer reasonable accommodations.

(24) Students must also provide verifiable evidence of their disability or long-term illness (for example, a medical cert or evaluation by a competent professional). The type of evidence and the age of the report should follow DARE guidelines ( 

(25) The student is responsible for informing any Assessor or Supervisor of any reasonable accommodation granted.

Possible Reasonable Accommodations

(26) Applications for reasonable accommodation may result in provision of:

  1. Scribes and interpreters
  2. Assistive technology
  3. Extra time in assessment
  4. Changes to the examination environment
  5. Extra time in examination
  6. Any other reasonable accommodation agreed in writing with the College
  7. No reasonable accommodation