Studied: Level 2 Diploma in Sport, Level 3 Diploma in Sport Development, HNC in Sport
“Experienced’, ‘responsive’ and ‘proactive’ are the three words Louis Perrins uses to describe Walsall College’s Deaf Academy. It is a learning support provision he made use of during his three years here while achieving Level 2, 3 and HNC qualifications and becoming highly skilled in football coaching.
Louis had access to a language support tutor and notetaker in class so that he could participate in lesson activities and learning alongside hearing students. He also received one to one language support timetabled for two hours a week.
As his classmates and teachers got to know him and other D/deaf students, they too began communicating directly with him using BSL and via Teams messages. This helped him feel more included and able to achieve.
“The interpreters here are all fully qualified and are a close-knit team,” said Louis. “It means students are assigned to the same one or two people throughout their course. They build a rapport with them. They get to know the student’s personality and sense of humour.
“The interpreters also make the effort to understand more about what the students are learning so they can correctly translate and transcribe subject-related phrases and terminology and use it in the right context. This saves me and other D/deaf students having to explain the work to a different translator every week.
“Things like this mean a lot.”
Louis is currently a volunteer coach to under 10s and under 14s at Birmingham DFC. He also plays with Birmingham Deaf Futsal who are participating in an international tournament in Switzerland this month.
The knowledge of new technologies that Louis gained during his HNC course also comes into use as he helped his club set up their VEO sports camera before matches.
When it comes to recommending the college to other D/deaf students; whether it’s to study at school leaver or higher education level, Louis is once again happy to praise the Deaf Academy provision.
“The accessibility is second to none. Everything you might need is all set up, ready for when you start your course” he added.
“You do have to be willing to put the work in,” he continued. “It’s important you don’t assume that your interpreter and notetaker will do everything for you. When I discovered course topics I was really interested in, I did lots of research in my own time without others helping.
“Ultimately, this is a hearing world and you need to be prepared for it however you can.
“But if you are D/deaf, believe in yourself and want to study in a mainstream college and go up to a higher level then I would definitely say ‘go for it’.”