Submission Guidance

General note

Some years ago, the Open University said that its main aim was to produce intelligent, informed sceptics. To a large extent this is what the NADP also wants. There is a need to step back from the daily routine and to stop and think about your submission critically.

This involves posing questions such as “Why am I doing this?”, “Is it efficient in terms of time spent and effective in terms of outcome?”, “What is the evidence to support my answer?” and so on. In fact, the use of objective, detached, impartial evidence is crucial to the creation and recognition of being a professional.

You need to demonstrate in your accounts that you are informed by reading about disability and education especially, but also about disability in society and about the progress of educational policy in all sectors of provision.


Applicants’ submissions should be an original piece that is well structured to form a coherent argument of the issues at hand. It should use a clear, plain communication style. It should draw upon relevant resources, principles or concepts and/or legal, policy or guidance documents at a national or institutional level (e.g. scientific literature; research; theory; HEFCE; QAA; Government) and it should reference those sources appropriately. It can draw upon direct source materials, student quotes or contributions where suitable permissions are sought and granted.

Applicants should note that a submission which is a mere description of a situation or topic will not be sufficient to achieve a pass. Evaluation and critical reflection is a key part of all sections; the Panel will be seeking evidence of analytical, critical and independent thinking.

Each section should briefly set the scene and then pose and answer the questions:

  • how do I/we operate in this situation?
  • why do I/we do it like that?
  • could I/we do it better, and how?

Any assertions should be evidenced by references to legislation, policy, research and evaluation as appropriate.

For more guidance, see supporting paper: Reflective Writing.


The list of suggested topics within the submission sections is intended to be illustrative and not exhaustive. Where applicants are unsure about whether their chosen topic is appropriate, they should refer to the Mentor they have been allocated.

In compiling each section applicants will be expected to demonstrate a range of generic knowledge, skills and professional values, and also attitudes and activities relevant to their work as professionals. All submissions must show how they are based in the applicant’s past experiences and daily practices and also how these link to more general supporting evidence sources.

Since every individual account should be unique, the Accreditation Panel is not anticipating the need to identify plagiarism.

As broad general guidance about what might be included in the various accounts the following should be helpful:

  • Knowledge, skills and professional values
  • Relevant legislation, policies, codes of practice
  • Disability theories and concepts, impact of impairment on learning
  • Internal institutional systems, processes and structures (such as admissions, marketing)
  • Funding mechanisms/sources (internal and external, individual and institutionally based)
  • Course design and course structures
  • Learning approaches
  • Strategies of academic assessment
  • Information sources
  • Support systems, both human and technologically-based
  • Issues of confidentiality

Attitudes and activities

  • Aspects of working on a 1:1 basis with learners
  • Co-operation and team-working with colleagues
  • Contribution to needs assessment
  • Liaison with external agencies
  • Devising and promoting inclusive policies and practices
  • Involvement in disability education for staff
  • Participating in and contributing to key committees/groups within the institution
  • Participating in and contributing to key bodies and organisations outside the institution
  • Recognition of roles, responsibilities, boundaries and personal competence

Format and length

Normally, all submissions should be made electronically. you can do so via our new online system, in the members area. There must be no undue overlap between any of the sections. We expect written submissions to consist of 750 words per section. The word count includes everything in the main body of the text (including headings, tables, citations, quotes, lists etc).

The list of references and any footnotes are not included in the word count.

It is standard practice to have an allowance of up to 10% over the recommended word limit, but beyond that submissions will be returned automatically for further work.

Appendices, notes and footnotes will not be read or assessed.Where applicants wish to submit using visual or oral methods they should base their submission on an equivalent volume of content.All written submissions should have numbered pages and state the number of words at the close (discounting references and bibliographies).

List of Possible Sources

A list of sources and resources that can be used as an initial starting point to seek evidence to support submissions is available in the Members area of the NADP website. Please note that it Is intended to establish the accreditation process firmly in the everyday activities of staff working with disabled students. It is not the intention that submissions should be of a more ‘academic’ nature. However, if we are to make further progress in seeking recognition for ourselves as professionals, it is essential that staff do set aside time to read and familiarise themselves with up-do-date literature.


Any section can be referred. When this occurs, the applicant is entitled to one further opportunity to resubmit that section. Normally this should be to the next Accreditation Panel meeting after the submission of the original account. Should the resubmission be deemed not to meet the criteria a second time, accreditation cannot be awarded. Members then cannot seek accreditation again for a minimum period of one year when a full Accredited Member Registration and Application process must be completed again.


Conditions for appeal

It is possible to appeal against a decision of the Accreditation Panel. Appeals will be considered by the Chair of the Accreditation Panel whose subsequent decision will then be final. Appeals can only be made in exceptional circumstances and must be based on procedural matters only. Appeals cannot be made on the professional judgements of the Accreditation Panel. In the rare event of appeals proving un-resolvable, the Chair of NADP will take the final decision.

Appeals process

Appeals must be made using the appropriate pro-forma. Appeals must be supported by evidence of the exceptional circumstances regarding the procedural matters that have affected the decision of the panel.

Automatic Deferrals

You may decide that for a variety of reasons you are unable to submit your application in time for the deadline you originally selected. NADP understands the pressures that practitioners work under.

Registered applicants who do not submit will automatically receive a deferral to the next deadline. However, you cannot be deferred more than once on 1 registration fee. Please also bear in mind that the level of support from your Mentor is a total amount of support per registration and missing a deadline does not allow you to start your mentoring ‘allowance’ from scratch.

Mitigating Circumstances

If you feel your personal circumstances may make you eligible to apply for mitigating circumstances then as soon as the circumstances become evident, and you realise you are not going to meet the deadline, you should complete the relevant form on the website and return it to

Your application will be considered by the Chair of the Professional Development Group. If you wish to appeal against the decision your appeal will be considered by the Chair of NADP whose decision will be final.

If your application for Mitigating Circumstances is accepted it will normally result in a deferral to the next submission deadline date. This will not be counted as an automatic deferral and means that you will still have the option to defer one more time.

If you are able, despite the mitigating circumstances, to submit the full submission within two weeks of the deadline, it will still be marked in the usual way but may take longer to return to you following marking.

Examples of mitigating circumstances that can be considered include:

  • long term illness of self or close family,
  • bereavement of close family or
  • other major events causing serious impact on your ability to complete.

Examples of circumstances that would not normally be accepted include:

  • IT and printing problems at home or university,
  • not being able to get hold of books/resources,
  • child care and other routine family/carer commitments,
  • coughs, colds, minor chest infections, other minor illness,
  • house moving or house sale,
  • planned GP, dentist or other health appointments,
  • pressures of employment.

Please note, this list is not exhaustive.