Members will be meeting this month to discuss ways in which Disabled Students’ Allowances can be made to work better for students and AT providers.
The DSA Summit – taking place at the Sunley Conference Centre, Northampton University, between 10.00am and 1.00pm on July 25th – is a chance for members with an interest in higher education to make their voice heard.
In recent years BATA has provided significant input into the Government’s efforts to modernise DSA. So, with a new administration in place and still more decisions to be made about future support for students, the time is right to review progress and map a strategy for BATA to get the best possible deal on AT for disabled students.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions for the agenda. Members can book a place here.
Strategy Group sets up shop
We have now set up a Strategy Special Interest Group (SIG) to support our engagement with bodies such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for AT (APPG for AT), Government Departments and other public bodies who regularly consult us. If you would like to join this SIG please let us know by email.
BATA is a founder member of the APPG for AT and the Group is planning an assistive technology day next year to provide a forum for members to demonstrate their technology in a parliamentary setting. The event will give parliamentarians the opportunity to use and learn about the AT that’s available in a fun and interactive way. It is also a vehicle to gain wider publicity and promote awareness within parliament.
David Atkinson’s Vatican audience
During a recent trip to Italy our treasurer David Atkinson was invited by an old friend to brief the Vatican, which plays a major role in supporting disabled people in Italy, on the UK’s approach to assistive technology. Read David’s account of his extraordinary trip here.
Guide for vision-impaired pupils
Myles Pilling, BATA Council member has been working on a project with Graham Newman on a set of help guides to enable classroom teachers become aware of the needs of vision-impaired pupils. These guides will be published to all schools in the UK with the approval of teacher’s unions. The information explains how to make simple adjustments to ensure pupils with macular degeneration are given the best support to access the curriculum. Eleven subjects are covered from the core subjects of Maths, Science and English to Sports and School Trips. The guides will be appearing in schools from September 2017.
VAT guidelines approved
HMRC has now approved the guidance for VAT drafted by BATA’s Ian Litterick. The guidance, which contains advice for both suppliers and HMRC officers, makes it clear for the first time that mobile devices can be sold zero-rated for VAT, if they meet certain conditions. We are waiting to hear from HMRC about implementation timescales. Ian Litterick’s company Iansyst is acting on the new advice now. Read the guidelines here.
Second network event in the pipeline
During the last couple of years, more universities have created the role of an assistive technology specialist. Many of those in this new role are working in isolation from one another.
To support these individuals in developing their own professional network Gemma Holtam, BATA council member, and Rob McLaren, assistive technology officer, ADSHE, are hosting a number of networking and ideas sharing days.
Their first event took place on the 2nd June at the University College London and focused on the role on the common challenges that assistive technology specialists face and how these can be overcome.
There was also a panel discussion on the future of this role. Among the speakers were Alistair McNaught of JISC, Sal Cooke OBE from BATA, and Adam Hyland, representing Diversity and Ability.
With the help of sponsorship from TextHelp, Notetalker, Scanning Pens and Sonocent, the day provided a valuable opportunity to share good practice and ideas, and a second event is planned for December.
A warm welcome to new member Dyslexia Box.