People Support Helps Daisy Flourish at SERC

A young hockey player with a severe hearing impairment found that the learning support in South Eastern Regional College (SERC) went beyond the offer of devices and equipment, involving all the students and tutors on her course.

0 min read

30 March 2021

A young sports student  with a severe hearing impairment found that the learning support in South Eastern Regional College (SERC) went beyond the offer of devices and equipment - it included the involvement of all the students and tutors on her course. .

A young hockey player with a severe hearing impairment found that the learning support in South Eastern Regional College (SERC) goes beyond the offer of devices and equipment, to include the involvement of all the tutors and students on her course.  

Daisy Boast (17) moved to Bangor from Epsom in Surrey. She enrolled on the Level 2 Sports Studies and has now progressed to the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sports and Outdoor Activities at SERC’s Bangor Campus. She says,

“When I was looking at courses to study in Northern Ireland, SERC offered me courses and relevant support which helped me decided to come to the College."

Daisy adds, “I’m hearing impaired and have worn hearing aids since I was three years old. I am severely impaired in my right ear and profoundly in my left ear. You wouldn’t know this to look at me, unless you saw my hearing aids. When people do know, they can help me by facing towards me whilst talking so I can lip-read. Likewise, when I am talking to people, it needs to be in a quiet environment. However, given that I love sports and my studies will hopefully lead to a career in sports, I’m mostly in a loud environment so it is a struggle for me - people have to be close to me to talk or I have to lip-read.

“When I came to SERC, I was offered everything I had in place in my secondary school - such as radio aids to hear the lecturer directly into my ‘shoe’ adapters in a big class (I usually sat in front of the class so I could focus and I’m hearing the teacher properly even though I used the adapters); a teaching assistant who would sit next to me in class and take notes down if I had problems with the topic or if they thought that I would be unsure of something important; and I also had what’s called ‘segregated learning’, really one-to-one tuition, for an hour or two once a week to ensure that I understood everything and was up to date with work, but I felt, because of the support that was offered from my tutors, that I didn’t need the equipment. After each lesson, my tutors check one-to-one with me that I have understood everything. It is one of the best things about my course, there is this constant support, making sure that I completely understand everything as we move through the course.

"Many people have made my time at SERC successful, but the one who stands out is Lynda Robinson who helped by putting everything in place, and by that, I mean making sure everyone knew the best way to communicate with me and checking in that I am comfortable knowing what I have to do.”

Having a hearing impairment has never stopped Daisy Boast doing what she wanted to do. The young woman, who previously played hockey for Pegasus Hockey Club in Belfast, is now in 2nd XI with Bangor Hockey Club.

For Daisy as for every other student, the world of learning changed with the first lockdown last March:

“We had to go online and, like everyone else, I had ups and downs. I struggled online because of my condition, mishearing things, and having to get the tutors to repeat themselves. I felt like I was going to fall behind. However, luckily, I had support from the group in my course and the tutors, from family and friends, all going through the same thing as me. The team at SERC, of course, checked on the need for additional support and I felt that I would benefit from a tutoring session once a week. This was put in place immediately on a one-to-one basis.”

Paul Walsh, Head of SERC’s Learning Support team says,

“All our students are individuals, and no two students will need the same support when they come to SERC, or even the same level of support throughout their time at the College. At SERC, we are proud that the Learning Support offered to students is tailored to help make students as independent in their learning as possible and adapted to meet their changing needs as they progress. We aim to make learning support seamless so that everyone who is working to help a student achieve is in the loop.”

As for future plans, Daisy says, “My ambition, after completing my Level 3 in Sports and Outdoor Activities, is to progress to a degree and I am looking at all my options. At the minute I am thinking I would like to pursue a career in coaching; something that will ensure I can enjoy outdoors life."

Daisy concludes, “For someone with any condition that means you need some support to get to where you want to be, I would recommend coming to SERC to study. Simply because the support is already built in to whatever you want to do. Just go for it.”

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