University of Edinburgh

Preparing Deaf Students for Exams and Leaving School

Presented on Thursday, 7 October 2010

Preparing Deaf Students for Exams and Leaving School

Borrowing listening technology from the BRITE Equipment Loan Bank

The purpose of the BRITE Equipment Loan Bank (EqLB)

BRITE (Beattie Resources for Inclusiveness and Technology in Education) helps Scottish Further Education colleges to be inclusive and to support the needs of all learners.

About half of Scotland's colleges are currently members of the BRITE Equipment Loan Bank (EqLB). Colleges can join the EqLB at any time of the year. Membership costs £475 a year.

The EqLB allows colleges to 'try-before-they-buy'. We loan equipment so it can be properly evaluated by the student and the college staff together.

This means that colleges can be confident that equipment they buy for students has been proved to be effective. The student will be reassured that the correct equipment has been provided for them. 

How does a FE student access equipment in the BRITE EqLB?

Firstly, the student needs to be studying at a Scottish FE college. It does not matter whether the student is studying full-time or part-time. It also does not matter what level the student is studying at. But they do need to be enrolled on a course.

Equipment is loaned to the college, not the individual student. A named member of staff at the college will assess the student’s needs, often with support from BRITE. That staff member is responsible for arranging the loan and for the equipment when it arrives at college.

College staff who arrange loans are called BRITE Link Participants. These are people who have either completed the BRITE Professional Development Award in Inclusiveness, or who are currently working towards this qualification.

You can find a list of BRITE Link Participants, organised by college, on our website at Go to the People section. Every BRITE Link Participant's email address is listed.

What can be borrowed?

Equipment is bought for the loan bank in response to requests, that way we make sure there isn't equipment sitting on our shelves unused.

We don't just loan listening devices, we provide access to a broad range of assistive technology.

Colleges can borrow up to 3 items at a time (a transmitter and receiver would count as one item). We currently loan a range of personal listening devices, including:

  • Sonido personal amplifiers with headphones
  • Neck loops to use with computers or audio equipment
  • Contego transmitters and receivers with neck loops
  • Phonak SmartLink Transmitters
  • Phonak MicroLink Receivers
  • Phonak MyLink neck-loop receiver
  • Phonak Freedom/3G Espirit receiver adaptors for use with Cochlear Implants
  • Connevans Swift Portable Soundfield System

How long do colleges borrow equipment for?

Usually 12 weeks. If equipment is worth more than £1350, an extension to the loan period can be requested. If the item has not been reserved by another loan bank member, it may be possible to keep the item for a further agreed period - or until another borrower requests that item.

What happens when the loan period is over?

If the equipment has proved to be effective, BRITE will provide the college with supplier and price information.

If the student is on a non-advanced course, that is, studying at a level below HNC, the college is advised to purchase the equipment for the student to use while attending the course. The equipment remains the property of the college.

If the student is on an advanced course, that is, HNC, HND, or above, the student can apply to be assessed for Disabled Students Allowance. This money can be used to pay for equipment and other course-related assistance. Equipment becomes the property and responsibility of the student.

If the equipment has not been useful, an alternative loan can be arranged.

Staff training opportunities

BRITE can help with technology advice and demonstrations; we have arranged free training sessions, for example 'FM for Beginners'.

We also use the BRITE Blog and mailing list to pass on information about any relevant training taking place in Scotland, for example Phonak workshops, Scottish Sensory Centre courses, etc.