About EWS Solutions

Education and Workplace Support (EWS) Solutions is a new, totally independent, DSA Assessment Centre located in Blackpool. Although we are a new Centre, we have extremely experienced male and female assessors who will discuss your study support needs with you, in a relaxed environment.

We are accredited by the Disabled Students’ Allowance – Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG) who conduct a thorough annual audit of all aspects of our services. We offer assessments for assistive technology and personal support needs, for people with a range of disabilities including: specific learning difficulties; physical disabilities; mental health difficulties, visual and hearing impairments. The assessments lead to recommendations for assistive technology; equipment; study aids; training; specialist strategies and support. This is usually provided to Higher Education students via the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) funding.


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The next available appointment for a DSA needs assessment is currently within 10 working days, we can do Saturday appointments by special arrangement.

For booking an appointment or any queries concerning Assessments of Need contact our assessment centre:

Telephone: 01253 206249
Email: dsa@ewsupport.org.uk
Post: EWS Solutions
215-217 Church Street
Blackpool, FY1 3PB

Opening Times:
Monday – Friday: 9.00am – 4.00pm

How to find us

For directions please click here

What does an Assessment Centre provide?

EWS Solutions undertakes Assessments of Study Needs, as part of the Disabled Students’ Allowance process - discussing the impact of your disability or difficulty on your Higher Education course. We discuss the requirements of your course, suggest strategies that can help you access your studies and can recommend appropriate assistive technologies and enable personal study support.

What is the Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA)?

The DSA is a government grant for UK students with disabilities/ learning difficulties enrolled on Higher Education, Post Graduate and Open University courses. The award is intended to cover any extra costs or expenses learners may have whilst studying, that arise due to a disability / learning difficulty. ‘Bridging the Gap’ gives full details on how to apply, download at www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance or order by telephone on 0800 7319133 . You can get more information about the NHS Bursary Scheme, and the DSAs offered, in the Department of Health’s guide ‘Financial Help for Health Care Students’. You can get copies by contacting the Department of Health Publications Order line on 08701 555 455 or from their website at www.dh.gov.uk

How to access the Disabled Student’s Allowance funding?

You should contact your funding body (SFE/NHS/OU), to apply for the DSA. Evidence is required to determine eligibility. This may include an Educational Psychologist’s Report (post 16 years of age) or recent medical evidence outlining the impact of your disability/difficulty, on day to day activities, and in relation to your course of study. The DSA does not cover the cost of obtaining disability evidence / diagnosis. To meet these costs you can apply to your university or college (the disability adviser may be able to help you with this) to see if help is available through the Access to Learning Fund. You can apply for DSA funding by completing the form DSA1 (form DSA1-Slim if you have already applied for other student finance) or on-line at https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/overview. Once your funding body has confirmed your eligibility for DSA funding, the next stage is that you will be asked to have an Assessment of Study Needs at an Assessment Centre such as EWS Solutions.

Why do I need to have an assessment?

The assessment will match your particular needs with those of your proposed course. It will also identify support strategies, types of equipment, training you might need to make best use of the equipment, how much it will cost and where to get it from. All recommendations are required to be directly associated with a difficulty you have as a consequence of your disability. Therefore, each assessment is tailored to the individual’s needs. Specific software or hardware can only be included where the disability demands it.

How can I arrange my assessment?

To arrange an assessment, you can contact EWS Solutions using the details provided above, addressing any letters or emails to the Centre Manager. We will send you an application form and ask for evidence of your disability (such as a letter from a medical specialist or GP, or an Educational Psychologist’s report, if you are dyslexic). On receipt of the requested information we will also send you written confirmation of your assessment appointment, together with a map and directions on how to find us, and an outline of what to expect during your assessment. Alternatively, you can email the completed forms to us, or print them out and post them to us. We will also need you to provide evidence of your disability (as outlined above).

How you can prepare for the Assessment?

It will be helpful to both you and your assessor before you attend the appointment, that you take a little time to think about your course of study and the likely impact on you. It is useful to think about how effective your previous study strategies were. Consider things such as receiving help from family, friends, teachers or support tutors, and whether or not any specific examination arrangements were made for you.

What happens at an Assessment?

This is an informal discussion between you and one of our Assessors. The meeting is quite relaxed, lasts approximately 2 hours and does not involve any tests!
During the meeting, the assessor gathers background information about how your disability or difficulty might affect your studies, work placements, or employment, before going on to discuss support packages. The assessment will give you a chance to evaluate many of the latest assistive technologies including information and communication technology and/or ergonomic equipment appropriate to your needs.

What types of support may be recommended?

Examples of types of support recommended are: one-to-one learning support; note-taker; communication support workers; mentor; educational support ; assistance for mobility needs; access arrangements for examinations; computer equipment and software; ergonomic equipment; recording/organisational devices.

What happens after the Assessment?

  • After the DSA assessment, the Assessor will write a report outlining your needs and recommended strategies.
  • A draft of the report will be sent to you for approval within 10 working days. The report will contain recommendations within the scope of the Disabled Students’ Allowance for the consideration of your funding body, along with advice for you and your university or college. You will have the opportunity to ask any further questions you may have.
  • Once the report has been agreed by you, a copy will be sent by us to your funding body.
  • The funding body will then write to you outlining how you should proceed to acquire any equipment, and/or support.
  • With your permission, a copy of the report will be sent to the HE Learning Support Co-ordinator /Disability Officer at your Higher Education Institution/Open University.

How long will it be before I receive my equipment?

This depends on your funding body (SFE/NHS/OU), however usually you should know if the report’s recommendations have been approved in approximately 2 – 8 weeks following receipt of your report. Once the Assessment Report has been sent to your funding body, EWS Solutions has no control over this decision or the length of time the decision takes. If you have not heard anything within 3 weeks you should contact the person dealing with your request at your funding body using the contact details on the front of your Assessment Report.

Why is there an Assessment Fee?

EWS Solutions will charge the funding body a single assessment fee. This allows for students to contact us at any time during their course with queries that relate to:

  • An additional diagnosis during the course or further courses for which further medical evidence has been provided.
  • Additional needs that a student may wish to discuss with their assessor.
  • Any activities undertaken by the assessor or centre to review the student’s DSA support, for the duration of the educational journey.
  • Liaison with funding bodies, equipment suppliers, HEIs or other stakeholders, for the purpose of review of the student’s support needs.

What if I have a complaint?

If you have a complaint about any aspect of your assessment please raise it with the Centre Manager as soon as possible by email: info@ewsupport.org.uk or Telephone: 01253 206249

EWS Solutions Complaint Procedure

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