BIFE Student Learning Support Services 

BIFE, is an equal opportunities Further Education and Training (FET) college and welcomes applications from students with additional needs.

The Institute endeavours to ensure that appropriate facilities and services are available to allow full access and participation for all learners as far as is practical and having regard to the resources available to the Institute. Applicants with special requirements should notify the Institute at time of application and at interview and arrange to speak to the Student Support Officer. Early contact with the Studnet Learning Support Officer is vital as there is an application procedure to follow and this will facilitate the provision of such services from the beginning of the year. Funding may be available under the SOLAS via KWETB Fund for Students with Disabilities.


The following information is for students with disabilities and learning difficulties. Read the information in this document before you complete the Needs Assessment Form.

  • Fund for Students with Disabilities 2.1 provides grants towards the provision of services and the purchase of equipment for students who have sensory, physical and/or communicative disabilities and learning difficulties.
  • Failure to disclose relevant information at application stage could result in the lack of provision of additional supports and services which are designed to meet your needs.
  • Students are advised that it is in their own interest to seek an advisory meeting with the Student Learning Support Officer to discuss their application through the completed Needs Assessment Form.
  • When you have accepted an offered place in BIFE and have Student Status an interview with the Student Learning Support Officer will be arranged by email to process your application. This interview is often on Registration Day but can be in April/May if you already have Student Status.
  • Bring a copy of relevant evidence to your course application interview and leave it at reception marked for the attention of the Student Support Officer. You can also post it in.
  • The Disability Officer will assess if your evidence meets the FSD requirements
  • Funding is not provided for any costs associated with assessment or diagnosis of a disability

Students with a wide variety of additional needs are supported. Applicants to the Fund for Students with Disabilities must meet certain nationality and residency criteria. The services and supports available to individual students will depend on the grant allocated by SOLAS.

  • Blind/visual impairment
  • Deaf/Hearing impairment
  • Mental health condition
  • Physical disability
  • ADD/ADHD Asperger Syndrome/Autism Specific or general learning difficulty
  • Significant on-going illness
  • Neurological conditions (brain injury, speech or language disabilities, specific or general learning difficulty)
  • DCD (Dyspraxia/Dysgraphia)


The kind of supports needed may vary from person to person, but can include the following:

  • Use of assistive technology equipment and software: e.g. laptops and reading software
  • Additional learning support with 1:1 or in small groups
  • Personal Assistant
  • Transport to and from college
  • Use of a Sign Language Interpreter
  • Examination considerations (scribe, reader, recording equipment, use of computer/laptop in exams)

There are three steps to apply for this additional funding and support:

  1. Please tick the Learning/Other Disability Section on the BIFE Student Application form. This implies consent for us to share your information with the Guidance Counsellors & Student Support Officer to assess your application and to apply to SOLAS via KWETB for funding from the Fund for Learners with Disabilities

  2. Complete a Needs Assessment Form and return it to Student Learning Support Officer, Jessica Wood ( Documentary evidence verifying the student’s disability / specific learning difficulty must be provided with the completed Needs Assessment Form return

  3. Make an appointment (via email) with the Student Support Officer to discuss their completed assessment form and application.

The Student Learning Support Officer will apply to the Fund for Students with Disabilities via KWETB on the student’s behalf.

The level of services and support students receive will depend on the grant allocated by SOLAS.

Students have the right to appeal to SOLAS, if refused a grant. Further Education does not have any provision for a Student Learning Support Office from the end of the summer term in June to the start of the Academic year in August.

Any queries or correspondence will be dealt with outside of that time.

It is the student’s responsibility to complete the Needs Assessment Form for students with disabilities, health conditions and/or specific learning difficulties and to return it to Jessica Wood

Note: Specific evidence is needed to accompany your completed Needs Assessment Form (please see the see the criteria here).