So after looking at Feltag and the Children’s and Families Act, I am now going to look at how the changes to the DSA could be supported by ALS departments in FE colleges, from a technology point of view.
What are the changes to the DSA?
These were set out by David Willetts MP in April
“The key changes are set out below:
- We will pay for higher specification or higher cost computers where a student needs one solely by virtue of their disability.
- We will no longer pay for standard specification computers or the warranties and insurance associated with them.
- We will no longer pay for higher specification and/or higher cost computers simply because of the way in which a course is delivered.
- We are changing our approach to the funding of a number of computer equipment, software and consumable items through DSAs that have become funded as ‘standard’ to most students.”
What does this mean to young people?
In the past those going to university may have received a standard set of equipment from the DSA, such as a laptop & printer. As these will no long be provided, those going to university with a leaning difficulty and disability will have to make there own decisions about what technology they need.
What does this mean to FE colleges?
Colleges could support learners with their transition to university by helping them decide what equipment they need to get for themselves. This could be done by a number of ways including:
- Providing equipment loans so learners could get an idea of what does or doesn’t work for them
- Providing Independent Assistive technology information on equipment they could purchase themselves, either via an online page or a paper based hand-outs
- If possible, putting those going to university in touch with young people who are already at university and can give advice on what to get.