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Nottingham Trent University increases support for deaf students during the coronavirus pandemic

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Nottingham Trent University (@TrentUni) increases support for deaf students during the coronavirus pandemic 

Nottingham Trent University has been praised for increasing its support for deaf students during the coronavirus pandemic.

The university, which has 78 students who are deaf or have a significant hearing loss, provided British Sign Language translators for live online lessons during lockdown and says it will continue to provide a positive learning experience for everyone.

The increase in support has been welcomed by the National Deaf Children’s Society, the UK’s leading charity for supporting the UK’s 50,000 deaf children, young people and students.

University staff met with current and future deaf students before the start of term to identify their needs and agree a bespoke approach for the upcoming academic year.

Among the additional steps being taken are transcripts and subtitles for all recorded content, British Sign Language interpreters for live streamed lectures and seminars and the provision of clear face masks or visors for staff meeting with deaf students.

In addition, the university will use the National Deaf Children’s Society’s top tips for clear communication, which include writing things down, finding a quieter place to chat and using mobile translation apps.

Gary McGladdery, Disability Services Manager at Nottingham Trent University, said:

“Our staff were proactively reaching out to our students over the summer period, as it is essential for their support to be in place for the commencement of their studies. 
“As well as meeting with students directly, we have facilitated a number of joint meetings with their tutors. We want to ensure their learning experience is accessible and enjoyable and will continue to work with them to see which support best meets their needs.” 

Nottingham Trent University student Sam Russell, who is deaf, said:

“I’m really pleased at the effort NTU has made to ensure that I have support for all my lectures and sessions. They’ve gone above and beyond what I’ve expected from a university. In some instances they’ve arranged one to ones such as workshop inductions, whilst providing interpreters where needed and subtitles on all their content.
“They give the impression that they really care for their students and give them the chance to reach their full potential.”

Martin McLean, Higher Education Lead for the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“We welcome the very positive steps Nottingham Trent University are taking, particularly because they recognise that every deaf student is different and a catch-all approach is never the answer.

“Deaf students pay the same fees as hearing students and every university has a legal obligation to make sure their courses are as accessible as possible, all the necessary adjustments are made and deaf students get the communication support they need.

“We’d urge every university in the country to talk to its deaf students, especially during these challenging times, to make sure they are getting everything they need to succeed.”

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