Case Study
Blurred photo of the lecturer in the uni hall

University College London (UCL), located in the heart of the city, is London’s leading multidisciplinary university, with more than 13,000 staff and 42,000 students from 150 different countries.

With a progressive approach to teaching and research, their world leading academics, curious students, and outstanding staff continually pursue excellence, break boundaries, and impact real-world problems.

UCL is rated the top university in the UK for research strength in the most recent Research Excellence Framework and is ranked eighth in the 2022 QS World University Rankings.

The terptree team spoke to Natalie Humphrey, Head of Student Support & Wellbeing for the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Team, to learn why they choose to work with terptree.

How did you discover terptree?

I knew of terptree from my previous institution. Soon after I joined UCL, we were in a situation where we needed quick access to sign language support for a student, so I contacted terptree.

What were your initial requirements from terptree?

In this particular case, deaf students required sign language support both in the classroom and in interpreting pre-recorded videos. During the pandemic, this support also included support in online classrooms.

What function has terptree performed for your organisation?

The team at terptree has provided timely and consistent interpreting support for the students. They were also able to meet the student’s needs regarding their specific subjects and learning’s like being deaf.

What terptree did was hold a training and awareness meeting with us all present – myself, the site manager.

What benefits has this brought?

The direct benefit to us at UCL is that we’ve been able to build a relationship with terptree, so we’re able to contact them at short notice if needed and are also able to have an open dialogue with them, so if things are going well, we’re able to share successes; but more importantly, if solutions need to be found for students, we can do so easily.

It’s also a great benefit that the kind of feedback we’ve received (from students) is that terptree provides good structure, routine, and consistency. Through consistency of support, our students are able to build effective working relationships with their interpreters, improving their overall learning experience. This has included working with students on niche subjects where vocabulary is either difficult or not there. Our terptree interpreters have worked with students to identify and develop a vocabulary to ensure the student’s subject knowledge and progression.

What would your advice be to others?

I would highly recommend getting to know the terptree team well, even if it’s via Zoom meetings.

Be clear on your requirements and communicate those so they can work with you to identify interpreters that can meet your student’s needs.

Explaining ‘where we were coming from’ and our needs, plus how we work as a university, was invaluable in building a working relationship. We made sure we ironed out all the small details at the start: sharing details like when term timetables are released and how to gain access to buildings and infrastructure. If you make it as smooth and easy as possible for the interpreters working on behalf of terptree, they can focus on the students and not be distracted by admin.

Making the time to take this approach has ensured a much better relationship and way of working.

Why would you recommend terptree?

Natalie finished by saying,

“I would personally recommend terptree because they work hard to accommodate any last-minute requests and always find a solution that helps us. They also continuously meet the needs of our students: and those students have been/are happy with the service they’ve received. On the rare occasion, a situation hasn’t worked initially, terptree has addressed it with a solution-focused approach rather than one of defence.

I’ve also found that terptree always tries to match students to their interpreters with care. This provides consistency and allows them to get to know the students and the subjects they are studying. It means that, as the student advances, the topics get harder and the vocabulary more specific; the interpreter progresses with them.

This approach means we don’t have the almost impossible task of finding a new interpreter with more advanced knowledge of a specific subject. It’s one more example of their solution-focused approach, and I really like that.

It’s been a successful working relationship, and we’ve had no complaints from our students of late, which is an important consideration as it’s about providing the best for them”.

We were given details of contacts should we ever need them.

I was more than happy with the service terptree provides and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

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