What Colleges and departments can do

Main support areas


  • Make physical adaptations to rooms and buildings where possible. For University buildings, contact Estates for advice. For colleges, speak to the Domestic Bursar.
  • Ensure there are no obstructions in corridors or rooms.
  • Ensure that signs and labels are clear and easy to read. This might include signs in the buttery or hall, on notice boards, pigeon holes and in libraries. Use a sans serif font on an off-white background. Keep signs consistent with University style guidelines on typography and our style guide.

The law requires that:

  • new buildings, extensions, or refurbishment projects must take into account disabled people's needs
  • there are strategies in place to work around any currently inaccessible rooms. For example, a lecture in an inaccessible venue should be moved to an accessible one

Check the University access guide for information on building access.

What departments can do

  • Share information on the support students require with the relevant staff. For example, circulate Student Support Documents to teaching and support staff who need to see them.

What Colleges can do


  • Prioritise larger, en-suite rooms for disabled students where required. Students may need the space for equipment or extra learning materials. They may also need a larger room to help with their organisational strategies.
  • Ask housekeeping staff not to move things around. Students may prefer to keep things in particular places or have anxiety about other people in their room.
  • If possible, allow students to stay in the same room for the duration of their course if they would find it helpful. Where possible, allow the students' friends to live near them if they wish to.

Food and drink in College

  • Ensure menu items are clearly labelled.
  • Publish menus online in an accessible format.
  • Tell staff in the buttery or hall if a student is unable to carry a tray or needs to sit in a specific place.
  • Share allergy information with catering staff.

Staying in touch

  • If a student with a long-term illness is unable to leave their room, arrange for a member of College staff to contact them at least once a day.

Social support

Some disabled students may need extra support with settling into Cambridge and socialising.

  • Get feedback from students about what sorts of events they would enjoy. Liaise with social secretaries to organise these.
  • Choose College parents who are prepared to offer extra support, if the student would find it helpful.
  • Continue introductory events into the first term.