Referring students

Timely enagement with sources of support and guidance is key to enabling a student to develop their academic skills and achieve their full potential. However, some students may be unaware of the Writing Development Centre's provision, or delay seeking advice until the situation has become a crisis. We therefore welcome referals from members of staff.

Confidentiality Our provision is student-centred and we aim to provide a supportive, non-judgemental space in which students may feel safe in raising any issues associated with their academic skills. Our confidentiality policy means that we cannot report back to academic members of staff on a student's progress unless the student gives us their permission to do so. Where there is a clear benefit to the student in liaising with a member of academic staff, we will encourage the student to allow us to do so.

Referral If you would like to refer a student to us, please direct them to book an appointment with us online. If you wish to discuss the issue with us, please contact Dr Helen Webster, Head of the Writing Development Service.

Please note: We do not accept referrals which have been made a compulsory condition of a student's progress. We request that attending WDC tutorials is not made part of any agreement about progression, such as passing an APR.


Our Expertise We can offer advice on academic skills topics including:

  • Understanding assignment types, questions, instructions and marking criteria (including unusual assignment types)
  • Critical thinking, critiquing and reviewing literature
  • Note-taking from lectures and reading
  • Planning and structuring writing (incl. paragraphing)
  • Academic writing style (incl fundamentals of grammar)
  • Understanding and using feedback to improve your work
  • Referencing, citing and avoiding plagiarism
  • Managing time, work and writing (incl. writers block and procrastination)
  • Exams and Revision
  • Managing research projects, dissertations and theses
  • Presentations and posters
  • Learning effectively in lectures, seminars, classes, labs etc

We work with any aspect of learning, and any stage of the process of producing an assignment, not just writing. We may also be able to advise on writing for academic publication and for non-academic audiences in some cases, but focus primarily on academic writing for university assessment. We are not able to advise on creative writing or writing for employability.

Specific needs and other issues If your student has specific needs, they may be directed to the following services:

  • International students with language support needs: We are not experts in teaching English as a Second Language. Students in this category should be referred to INTO Newcastle University for In-Sessional English support in the first instance. International students who have been exempted from the language test requirement or whose test results indicate that additional English language support is not needed (normally a writing score of 7 in the IELTS test or 70 in the UELA assessment) can be referred direct to the Writing Development Centre. Continuing students who have completed appropriate in-Sessional writing courses in previous years can also be referred direct to the Centre.
  • Students with suspected or diagnosed dyslexia: Students in this category should be referred to Dyslexia Support in the first instance. Following an assessment of the student’s needs, staff at Dyslexia Support will decide whether support is to be provided by a dyslexia tutor or the Writing Development Centre. In some cases, both services will be involved in providing support.
  • Students writing CVs, covering letters and other employment-related texts: These students should be referred to the Careers Service website , where they will find information and resources on writing CVs, covering letters, personal statements and answering application form questions, as well as details about the one-to-one feedback and advice available in the Careers Service.
  • Students who have questions primarily concerning searching for literature and other information literacy issues would be best served by speaking to their liaison librarian or consulting an online libguide in their subject.