Research has shown that deaf students are no less likely than their hearing counterparts to obtain good grades and pass courses in higher education (Richardson, 2015). Despite this, under half the number of deaf pupils, compared to hearing pupils, go straight from school to university (O’Neill et al., 2014), and when there, face an array of challenges that hinder their HE experience (Sachs, 2011). The current paper reports on a project exploring deaf students’ experiences of further/ higher education, with the aim of identifying the communication barriers to inclusivity being faced by deaf students. Sixteen interviews (face to face using British Sign Language or written responses over email) with current and former Scottish deaf students were conducted and translated/ transcribed, before being analysed using Braun & Clarke’s (2019) reflexive thematic analysis, revealing themes of (1) A lack of deaf awareness, (2) The English language, and (3) Access to interpreters, as barriers to inclusive further/ higher education for deaf students. These findings support work from other countries that highlight the same challenges being faced, and demonstrate the specific ways in which deaf students are being excluded in FE/ HE, both within and outside the classroom. It is crucial that FE/ HE institutions are aware of these, and are prepared to support their deaf students as they would any other student.
- deaf students