BATOD
The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education

Archived news from BATOD Northern Ireland

22-09-12

  1. Regional/National information and events report

    BATOD NI held a Fashion Event in Jordanstown School for the Deaf in May to raise funds for a School for the Deaf in Kenya.

    In August we had our annual training day led by Med-el, manufacturers of Cochlear Implants. The afternoon session was conducted by a local educational psychologist Damien McLoughlin who spoke to us on the topic of working memory.

  2. Committee meetings report

    The committee members met in May to organise the Summer fashion event and August training day.

    They will meet again in mid-September to organise the October AGM which will be led by David Couch from BATOD.

  3. Planned events for the next 12 months

    Datetopic venue contact
    October 2012 AGM - D Couch Tollymore Pk Centre

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26-05-12

  1. Regional/National information and events report

    Batod NI Spring meeting was held in Stranmillis College, Belfast. Sharon McMurray, senior lecturer in education, addressed the members on difficulties with reading. We exchanged ideas on problems we encounter with hearing-impaired children and young people.

  2. Committee meetings report

    The committee met in February to organise the Spring meeting. It will meet again in early May to organise the Summer event and plan ahead for the training day in August 2012.

  3. Planned events for the next 12 months

    Datetopic venue contact
    22. May 2012 Look listen learn Jordanstown Sch batodni@batod.org.uk
    30 August 2012 Med El Implants and also Working Memory Antrim Board Rm
    October 2012 AGM - D Couch Tollymore Pk Centre

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11-03-12

  1. Regional/National information and events report

    Following our AGM in October 2011 where Gary Anderson addressed BATOD members we have held two committee meetings. We have organised our Spring meeting at Stranmillis College Belfast where a senior lecturer in Literacy will speak to us about her research on dyslexia.

  2. Committee meetings report

    We met in Dec 2011 and in Feb 2012 to organise speakers and forthcoming events.

  3. Planned events for the next 12 months

    Datetopic venue
    6 March 2012Dyslexia Stranmillis College
    Dr S McMurray
    October 2012TBA Tollymore Park
    David Couch

  4. Issues which Regional committee wishes NEC to consider:

    SEN review consultation meetings in a variety of venues in N Ireland in the next two months - at this stage meetings are for voluntary groups and parents only.

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03-12-11

Following our AGM in October 2011 where Gary Anderson addressed BATOD members we have held two committee meetings. We have organised our Spring meeting at Stranmillis College Belfast where a senior lecturer in Literacy will speak to us about her research on dyslexia.

Committee meetings report: We met in Dec 2011 and in Feb 2012 to organise speakers and forthcoming events.

Planned events for the next 12 months

6 March 2012 Dr S McMurray/lecturer Dyslexia Stranmillis College

Oct 2012 David Couch will speak at Tollymore Park.

Regional Issues: SEN review consultation meetings in a variety of venues in N Ireland in the next two months - at this stage meetings are for voluntary groups and parents only.

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03-12-11

BATOD NI members commenced the new academic year with a training day at the end of August run by PC Werth. This involved information on Soundfield systems and tympanometry. The day was well attended and very useful.

Our AGM was held in mid-October in the Medical Education Centre of Craigavon Hospital. Once business had been sorted our main speaker was BATOD President Gary Anderson. It was wonderful to have him back to N Ireland again and let him taste some of our hospitality, although only after imparting some of his wisdom to our members.

Gary detailed his career path and then explained what his current Presidential role entails. That afternoon we treated Gary to the delights of the Mournes and some local seafood.

The AGM was rounded off with Rosie Gardner, HOS, detailing her trip to a school for the deaf in Kenya, set up by one of our local Teachers of the Deaf.

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24-09-11

In the last few weeks of the Summer term BATOD Northern Ireland met in the newly built Jordanstown School for the Deaf and Visually Impaired. Our guest speakers for the evening were two recently retired Teachers the Deaf who shared with us their past experiences. This was highly entertaining and just what we needed at the close of another hectic academic year.

On 31 August BATOD Northern Ireland attended In Service training led by the PC Werth team. They gave presentations on Soundfields, new hearing aid systems and tympanometry. The day was well attended and most informative.

  June 2011 saw several Teachers of the Deaf retire - Mr G and Mrs H Lewis, Sue McCrum and Sylvia Maxwell. All will be greatly missed by their pupils and colleagues.

The AGM will be on Saturday 15 October when we will be addressed by Gary Anderson. We look forward to his visit.

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25-06-11

The NI BATOD committee met on 1 December 2010 and discussed the support our five area boards provide to early years. This led to Wendy's report that was in turn submitted to BATOD.

On 1 March Sue Lewis was invited by NEELB to speak to all area boards on the subject of demonstrating value added within early years foundation stage provision.

On 9 February we met as a committee to plan future speakers for our Spring and Summer meetings.

We hope to have two representatives from Cochlear Europe to update us on the Nucleus 5 at our Spring meeting 28 March 2011.Furthermore in August 2011 we have arranged for PC Werth to organise a training day for all members to update us on new technology. 

A date has yet to be set for our Summer meeting.

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20-03-11

The NI BATOD committee met on 1 December 2010 and discussed the support our five area boards provide to early years. This led to Wendy's report that was in turn submitted to BATOD.

On 1 March Sue Lewis was invited by NEELB to speak to all area boards on the subject of demonstrating value added within early years foundation stage provision.

On 9 February we met as a committee to plan future speakers for our Spring and Summer meetings.

We hope to have two representatives from Cochlear Europe to update us on the Nucleus 5 at our Spring meeting 28 March 2011.

Furthermore in August 2011 we have arranged for PC Werth to organise a training day for all members to update us on new technology. 

A date has yet to be set for our Summer meeting.

10-12-10 postponed to 29-01-11

In August 2010 BATOD NI, in conjunction with the Heads of Service group,  held a TOD Baker Day with two representatives from Phonak. They informed us on Dynamic FM, Inspiro, Soundfield and Implant Verification

This talk was well received by all members. Indeed this August Baker Day has become an annual event for BATOD NI, since 2005. It is a good opening for the academic year and brings teachers of the hearing-impaired from all five education boards in Northern Ireland together.

In October 2010 members of BATOD NI met as a group for the AGM at Craigavon Area Hospital. Our guest speaker was Trish Cope from the Ewing Foundation. Trish spoke on the programme she has developed on Literacy and Phonics for Deaf Children.

Finally Alan Offord, peripatetic teacher of the Hearing-Impaired in the Western Board, retired in June 2010. Alan had been a past secretary of BATOD NI. We all wish him a relaxing, fulfilling retirement.

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Reports to NEC by Wendy Martin BATOD NI Chair

Latest

15-03-10

We held our Spring meeting on 2nd March at Stranmillis College Belfast in the evening. Lorraine Glover, Children’s Services’ Lead Audiologist at the Ulster Hospital spoke to us about the automated screening tests used with infants and the diagnostic tests used when babies do not give clear responses. The care pathway used in ENT was also looked at. This was very useful as it reminded colleagues of the nature of these tests so that we can explain them more fully to parents and talk about the need to build up a picture of hearing loss over time.

The need for joined up working and team work with ENT departments in our hospitals was discussed and there was an opportunity for colleagues to talk to Lorraine and strengthen working relationships.

The committee has further work to do in following up arrangements for deaf children during INCAS assessments.

In the Summer we are planning to say goodbye to members of BATOD who have decided to retire. Their expertise and knowledge will be sorely missed.

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05-12-09

Since September, we have compiled and put together a response on behalf of BATOD NI to the Special Needs Consultation Document. This involved time and effort from all members of the committee. We would also like to thank NEC for their help and advice in this.

We held our AGM at Craigavon Hospital on 21.11.09. Ann Underwood spoke to us about the many things BATOD is involved in and its importance in representing us as Teachers of the Deaf. We were also able to see how the website is evolving and becoming more useful to us as a profession.

Ann also discussed the Leonardo da Vinci Project and a brief discussion on core competencies for Teachers of the Deaf followed. Members will be encouraged to take some time to complete the questionnaire.

Mentoring was discussed and NI will be able to put forward one or two mentors for this project.

In AOB it was noted that the system of testing pupils via computers and headphones (INCAs) was still very unsatisfactory and discriminatory to our deaf children. Thanks to the hard work of some members, this has now gone to the Department of Education who seem to be in agreement that this system is unfair and major changes are needed rather than the minor adjustments made so far. The BATOD committee will be following this up.

Plans are now being made for our Spring and Summer meetings.

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26-09-09

In August, we held our NI BATOD in-service education day. We were pleased to hear from speakers from the Belfast Board who talked to us about spelling strategies and gave us practical materials to use based on linguistic phonics. We then participated in an interactive session about teaching the writing process to children and again gained practical tips. It is useful to stay in tune with the training for literacy which is going into schools.

We continue to respond to change in education in NI and are currently discussing the Special Educational Needs Consultation document from the Department of Education Northern Ireland.

Our AGM will be held in November and we look forward to hearing from Ann Underwood at this meeting.

We are compiling a response to the Special Needs document from DENI.

The following are our main concerns, but we are meeting on 24th September to put a detailed response together.  We are also asking individual members to respond to the consultation.  Our Heads of Service group will also be working on this.  

Issues Increased responsibility for schools to meet needs of pupils does not take into account the special nature of deafness in language development and accessing curriculum.

No consideration about low incidence of hearing impairment.

School staff to assume responsibility for all their learners without waiting for external assessment or support - will this discourage request for support for deaf pupils?

Support services will provide training and advice.  There is no mention anywhere in document of support teaching.

Learning communities to be established.  Schools to seek advice from other schools in first instance.  Less emphasis on support from outside agencies.

Multidisciplinary groups to be established linked to learning communities. These will include health and speech and language.  No mention of other support services.

Special schools to provide support and advice to mainstream schools.  No mention of the expertise available from peripatetic services.

This document wants schools to be less dependent on external intervention. It wants schools to develop their own capacity to respond to need.  This implies increased funding in schools to train staff.  It also cites changing initial teacher training to include special needs.  This is already occurring here.  Sensory impairment is covered over a one day course in initial training.  The worry is that schools will say they are able to cater for needs of deaf pupils because newly qualified teachers have covered this in their initial training.

Before getting extra support, schools will have to demonstrate they have taken action themselves to meet the child's needs and progress has not been achieved.  Will this apply to our deaf pupils?

The document does not take into consideration the mandatory qualification to be a Teacher of the Deaf, nor low incidence, geographical spread and special nature of deafness.

Part of the problem, I feel, is the lack of knowledge about what sensory support services do, or even that we are in existence.

On the plus side, schools will have to take more responsibility for the achievement of their pupils and they will need support from Teachers of the Deaf to do this.

Paragraph 17.3 also states that the new Education Skills Authority (ESA) has the responsibility to establish appropriate support services.

Schools must also ensure that children's additional needs are identified, assessed and provided for and that they are not discriminated against because they have a disability (SENDO). This may give us a strong argument.

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March 2009

Our Spring meeting was held in Stranmillis College on the 2nd March. A respectable number of members came to hear a talk given by Jennifer Magowan Literacy Advisory Officer from the Southern Education Board who gave us an update on the Northern Ireland Revised Curriculum with special emphasis on literacy at Key Stage 3. The talk was very valuable in helping us understand the new requirements being made of mainstream teachers in the planning stages and also in the new cross-curricular themes and skills. It is statutory that all teachers have a responsibility to help; pupils acquire these skills no matter what subject they teach so that lessons will be less about content and more about skills. This has implications for the planning stages of work especially at Key Stage 3.

An issue which arose from the meeting was how little we as a group of teachers are kept ‘in the loop’ of new training for areas such as curriculum and yet it is vital that we understand new developments so that we can support our children and the mainstream staff teaching them effectively. This may be another reason for really endeavouring to raise our profile within the Boards and within the new Education Authority when it is formed.

We have also been able to attend training at the Royal Victoria Hospital along with our colleagues in health, funded by Oticon. As you are aware, Northern Ireland did not receive funding to train jointly with health when digital hearing aids were rolled out so this was a valuable opportunity. The theme was joint working and it was extremely useful both to listen to the input of the speakers and to talk with our colleagues in audiology to improve our joint working and links.

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06-12-2008

It was reported in June 2008 that the five Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland were moving towards an amalgamation to form a new Education and Skills Authority to be launched in April 2009. This has now been moved back to January 2010.

The five Heads of Service have been working to influence thinking when this amalgamation takes place. They have completed a document outlining good practice agreed by the Heads of Service and their teams and are now drawing out recommendations from this document. This is a unique opportunity to create a service of equality and good practice from the very beginning of a new Education and skills Authority which will best cater for the needs and interests of deaf children and their families in Northern Ireland.

Our BATOD In-service day was held on the 26 August 2008 and we were pleased to hear from Trish Cope and Paul Harris from the Ewing Foundation. After our summer break this was a good way to further develop our skills and confidence in balancing FM systems.

On the 18 October 2008, our Autumn Conference and AGM were held at Craigavon Area Hospital. Ted Moore came to speak to us on the topic of ‘All You Ever Wanted to Know about ToD Salaries but Were Afraid to Ask.’ Ted’s talk was extremely entertaining and also very useful, giving plenty of food for thought.

At the AGM, Mary Gordon gave a final report from the chair and handed over to the new chair, Wendy Martin. Janice McKillop took her place as the new chair elect and Heather Lammey took office as secretary. All outgoing officers and committee members were thanked for their hard work.

Presentations were then made to retiring teachers Margaret Nelson and Pamela Beattie, both very valued members of BATOD who will be sorely missed. Both teachers were extremely dedicated in their work and care for the children they taught.

BATOD NI has raised concerns about the use of InCAS in our schools for the assessment of all pupils. InCAS are now statutory in NI and the only pupils exempt are those with severe learning difficulties. We believe InCAS to be discriminatory to deaf pupils as they rely on listening to speech on a computer. We can provide leads to aid listening to the computer but this still does not provide the clues needed from lip reading. Deaf pupils in mainstream schools and units are being assessed in a way that puts them at a disadvantage. The team for InCAS have asked the teachers of the deaf for ideas for modifications; however, this question is being asked after the putting the assessments in place. We also feel that any modifications will not address the problem adequately as the hearing-impaired pupils need a live speaker. Agreement in NI has already been reached with CEA about allowing pupils with a hearing loss to listen to a live speaker for e.g. orals in French at GCSE level. We are concerned that this agreement does not seem to hold for statutory assessment in primary schools. We would be very grateful for feedback from NEC on the InCAS experience in England although we are aware that InCAS in authorities in England are not statutory.

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Reports to NEC by Mary Gordon BATOD NI Chair

27-09-08

BATOD Northern Ireland has just held a successful and well-attended In-service Day/Conference in Belfast on 26 August. It was entitled “FM: We have the technology but is it working?” We were delighted and impressed to have Trish Cope and Paul Harris from the Ewing Foundation who presented clearly, invited discussion and later ran workshops on Successware and using the FP35 Test Box, answering all questions and clearing up some misapprehensions! Each had the gift of conveying technical concepts in a non-threatening form as they shared their expertise and practical experience.

Considerations when fitting cochlear implants with FM systems were discussed and followed by a clear demonstration of the setting up. The extremely positive feedback suggested participants had absorbed much. Paul is an extremely helpful e-mail contact and point of reference for ANY technical query from toasters to Soundfield systems! Special thanks are due to Rosemary Gardner (committee member and NEC Rep) who made all the arrangements with the speakers.  

We are eagerly anticipating our AGM in October with Ted Moore (BATOD Consultant) who will talk to us on pay and conditions of service for ToDs which differ considerably from those in England

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14-06-08

In Northern Ireland, the five Education and Library Boards are moving towards an amalgamation to form a new Education and Skills Authority, which will be launched on 1st April 2009. At the last NEC BATOD Meeting in March, this situation was explained and the fact that the five Heads of Service were beginning to write a document regarding their vision for the future of the Hearing Support Services here. Alison Weaver and Gary Anderson immediately offered to come over to Northern Ireland to help in any way. Early on the 18th April, Alison and Gary flew into Belfast and assisted and facilitated the Heads of Service in a brain storming exercise, returning home later that evening, shattered! As a result of this assistance, the document is now close to completion. The Heads of Service would like to express their sincere thanks to Alison and Gary in their fantastic, professional assistance in all this.

The NI BATOD Spring/Summer Meeting 21st May was held in the Park Plaza Hotel near the Belfast International Airport. Those present enjoyed a lovely lunch supplied by OTICON who facilitated our Spring/Summer Meeting (following a helpful OTICON morning). The speakers in the morning were Sharon Robb of OTICON (but formerly of MCHAS) and Jeremy Hine (also from OTICON but formerly of NDCS) but they put on their ‘other’ hats and facilitated our hands-on workshops on balancing FM (various brands) with hearing aids. All five Education Boards here were represented at the meeting and helpfully brought some test boxes. The turn-out may have been enhanced by the venue and the dual use of the day, but the chance to listen to speakers who could explain complex concepts in non-technical language and could facilitate hands-on balancing and testing and provide tips and advice was eagerly grasped.

Those present were given advance info on the BATOD In-service Day on 26 August in Belfast, which will be led by Trish Cope and Paul Harris from the Ewing Foundation, which is entitled ‘We have the FM technology, but does it work?.’

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09-03-08

The Northern Ireland region of BATOD is re-invigorated with the new committee now having representatives from 4 of the 5 Education Boards. We await the amalgamation of all 5 Boards, apparently in March 2009, with both excitement and trepidation as we ponder the implications for our H I Peripatetic Services.

Meanwhile, Peripatetic teachers in the province attended a 2x3-day course on the Newborn Hearing Screening, early audiological screening and Early Support practice, funded by the Department of Education.

Our committee met on 21st November and planned ahead for the coming year. At our 26th February meeting, we firmed up arrangements for our Spring/Summer Conference/Meeting on 21st May (facilitated by OTICON - Sharon Robb and Jeremy Hines).

Our BATOD In-Service Day is on Tuesday 26th August '08 and is at an advanced stage of planning. Trish Cope and Paul Harris will be our speakers.

We briefly flirted with the idea of a Telephone Conference Call to replace a committee meeting, as some members live at great distances, but the BT charge proved to be prohibitive.

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01-12-07

On Saturday 13th October at Craigavon Area Hospital, we were delighted to welcome BATOD’s President Alison Weaver as the speaker at our Autumn Conference and AGM. Alison spoke on 'Deaf Education: Current Challenges - BATOD’s Response' and she updated our knowledge of the issues facing BATOD in terms of recruitment, initial training and the sustainability of the courses, the age profile of ToDs, their professional isolation and their need for additional in-service education (CPD). She stressed the importance of accurate data collection in order that decisions made by others (including central government) for deaf children can be properly informed. There was a consensus that the lack of understanding of what we do is palpable.

At the AGM the Chair thanked Joan Mc Keever for her work as treasurer and welcomed the nomination of new treasurer Antonette Burns. Similarly Olive McManus and Teresa Degnan were thanked for their dedication and service as NEC Reps and two new reps were appointed, Rosemary Gardner and Rebecca Millar. A heartfelt plea for new committee members resulted in three new members and the appointment of a Chair Elect, Wendy Martin. We now have much needed new blood and committee members from four of the five NI Education Boards and we will try Conference Calling as an alternative to calling committee meetings.

Alison's second talk was an interactive session about 'Pay and Conditions' and she drew attention to the BATOD website, to Ted Moore's work and to the need for a pay policy for unattached teachers. We feel in N Ireland that it would be of value to invite Ted to our next AGM in view of the imminent amalgamation of the five Boards here and the lack of any coherence in the present allocation of promotional 'points' to ToDs.

Alison was thanked for her enlightening talks and was presented with a gift before the meeting was closed.

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29-09-07

BATOD Northern Ireland has just held an extremely successful In-service Day/ Conference in Ballymena on 28 August. It was on Informed Choice, Families and Deaf Children: Issues for Audiology and Early Intervention Services and we were delighted to have Gwen Carr from the University of Manchester who conveyed the issues clearly through a series of presentations, role play and discussion. She worked enthusiastically and tirelessly and we were left fired-up and stimulated for the year ahead.

Special thanks are due to Michael Degnan, (husband of Teresa - BATOD committee member and NEC Rep) who raised money to cover the conference fee, through his business.

We are eagerly anticipating our AGM in October with Alison Weaver, BATOD President.

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16-06-07

The BATOD N I Summer Meeting on Tuesday evening 5th June had the usual turn out, undaunted by the lack of wine and cheese! We invited a fellow professional to speak - Gail Lawther, a teacher of Visually Impaired children in a specialist school who is also an advisory teacher for VI children in mainstream, special and pre-school placements. Most ToDs will have come across at least one HI child who also had a significant Visual Impairment, so the committee felt we had much to learn from a presentation on the difficulties habitually faced by such children.

Plans are also well advanced for our BATOD in-service education day at the end of August on "Informed Choice" by Gwen Carr of Manchester University. Members are looking forward to a well deserved summer break, and the challenge in September will be the new N I Revised Curriculum.

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11-03-07

On Friday 9th February BATOD Northern Ireland had a gratifyingly high turn out for the Spring Meeting in Belfast. The 32 participants included two BATOD colleagues from the Irish Republic and a teacher of VI children from the Belfast Board. The all-day meeting was entitled ‘Working with Deaf Children with Additional Complex Needs: How We Make a Difference’ and the speakers were Wendy McCracken and Mary Kean, both from the University of Manchester. They addressed the problematic topic of the ‘value-addedness’ of ToDs in the context of these children and their informative and helpful presentations emphasised our role in multi-disciplinary working. They managed the difficult task of giving the participants a confidence boost – no mean feat! I am extremely grateful to Teresa Degnan for her work in organising the day, and for all the committee members for making it a success.

Also, on Monday 19th February Sandra Wylie, Assistant Principal (Pupil Support) delivered the Annual Mary Hare Seminar in Belfast and many BATOD members attended in spite of it being half term. Her presentation was on ‘Self-acceptance and self-esteem’ and on promoting the social and emotional well-being of deaf young people. Her 30 years of experience and suggestions for materials and techniques were extremely well received.

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Reports to NEC by Sue McCrum (Chair NI)

02-12-06

The BATOD Northern Ireland regional Autumn meeting and AGM was held on 21st October at Craigavon Area Hospital. Andrew Broughton, Head of the Sensory Inclusion Service in Telford and Shropshire, gave an excellent presentation on classroom acoustics. His talk was exactly what teachers needed – very informative, extremely practical and relevant to their needs. He was also able to show us that some of the understandings we had been working with were in fact misunderstandings!

During the meeting Mary Gordon took over from Sue McCrum as Chair. Joyce Smith and Wendy Martin were elected as committee members.

Finally a presentation was made to Joan McKeever, who retired as Senior Teacher of the Hearing-Impaired with the Belfast Education and Library Board in the summer. Joan has also been a member of BATOD for many years and a long-serving committee member. Joan has agreed to continue as Treasurer for one more year, until somebody else is appointed.

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30-09-06

The members of BATOD Northern Ireland met as a group on 29th August. This was the second of what we hope will be many BATOD Training Days to be held annually at this time of year. Dr Margaret du Feu, Consultant Psychiatrist, and Mr Stephen Browne, Clinical Nurse Specialist, spoke on 'Improving Mental Health for deaf Young People'. The meeting was well attended and gave rise to further discussion.

The committee met early in the new term to discuss matters of local interest. Relevant issues from the NEC, which was attended by Olive McManus and Sue McCrum, were also raised. Teachers here have been concerned for some time about problems with Siemens aids and audio input shoes, which have given rise to difficulties in the use of FM systems. This is a problem we are currently trying to address.

Our next gathering will be the Autumn Meeting and AGM at Craigavon Area Hospital on 21st October. We are looking forward to a presentation by Andrew Broughton, 'Classroom Acoustics: Myth and Reality'.

Finally Joan McKeever, Senior Peripatetic Teacher of the Hearing-Impaired in the Belfast Education and Library Board, retired at the end of the last academic year. Joan, our current Treasurer, has been a member of BATOD for many years and has also served as a committee member for much of that time.

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17-06-06

The BATOD Northern Ireland Committee last met in April, when there were several issues for discussion.

A major concern, not unique to ourselves, was salaries. We were concerned about possible discrepancies in pay, depending on how our salaries are made up in terms of Special Needs Points and Management Points. We are also aware of some of the changes that are due in the payment of our salaries. We appreciate that this is a national issue, not just a local issue, and that it also affects other teachers who are working in Special Needs. As NI Chair, I have written to the local Union Secretaries expressing our concerns and to ask for their advice.

Other issues that were discussed were our concerns about provision for Hearing Impaired students in Further Education; a proposal by Olive McManus for a Special Interest Group for secondary aged children; and local concerns about unit closure and possible redundancies.

Our Regional Spring meeting took place at the end of March, at Stranmillis College. Raymond Flanagan, who is Head of Audiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, spoke to us about a research project in which he had been involved. The project was concerned with testing the hearing of children with glue ear in noise and the findings of the project seemed to indicate that the results of tests carried out in noise were a good predictor for eventual success after treatment by grommet insertion. After this presentation Raymond took questions on a variety of audiological matters and this provided a useful opportunity for teachers to raise issues of concern regarding matters such as hearing aid provision. A major concern was that a number of children had been issued with Siemens aids, but there were problems with the compatibility of these aids with FM systems. The exchange of views was helpful to us all and Raymond offered to answer more questions on another occasion. As a consequence of this meeting some Teachers of the Deaf have been working more closely with the Royal Victoria Hospital on the provision of hearing aids to children which work reliably with FM.

Our final meeting this year is due to take place at Jordanstown School on 8th June. Mary Mitchell, who is the Hearing Therapist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, will be coming to speak to us about her work. This should be of particular relevance to those teachers who work with older children, but promises to be of interest to all of us. As is customary, this meeting has a lighter tone and is followed by wine and cheese.

This year saw the retirement in April of Stephen Clarke as Principal of Jordanstown Schools. Stephen has been a member of BATOD for many years and held office in the past. BATOD NI acknowledged Stephen's retirement with a card and a gift. We all wish him well in his retirement.

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12-03-06

In August 2005 BATOD Northern Ireland, in conjunction with the Heads of Service group held the first ToD Baker Day on the Hanen Approach to Language Development. Members received a short questionnaire afterwards asking for comments. Feedback was very positive and it was decided to try and make this an annual event. Arrangements are underway for August 2006. Speakers will be Dr Margaret du Feu, Consultant Psychiatrist, NI Adult Mental Health and Deafness Service and Mr Stephen Brown a psychiatric nurse from her service.

Sue Lewis of Mary Hare Training Services delivered the annual Mary Hare NI seminar in the Stormont Hotel in February. Her topic was 'Effective Early Intervention for Deaf Babies and their families'. It was an excellent presentation, informative and thought provoking, and especially relevant following the introduction of the NBHS in October 2005.

In response to the introduction of the NBHS DENI has commissioned Mrs Wilma McCreary, retired Head of Service in the SEELB to carry out an audit. This audit will examine current practice in the management of 0-2 year olds and identify training needs and additional resources required to support the needs of under twos and their families. ToDs are very hopeful that DENI will respond positively to the results of the audit.

The Spring meeting was held on the evening of 30 March 2006 and our speaker was Raymond Flanagan, Head of Audiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. His topic was 'Speech in noise as a predictor of benefit from grommets (ventilation tubes)'. After answering questions related to his talk, Raymond took other questions from the floor on matters audiological. This was a valuable opportunity for teachers to ask general questions and also to discuss local issues, for example with regard to the provision of hearing aids and problems arising out of the use of FM systems with some hearing aids. The opinions of teachers were also of value to the Audiology Department at the Royal Victoria Hospital and I understand that they have already been taken into account in considering future hearing aid provision.

In April 2006 primary and pre-school hearing-impaired children in the SEELB will take part in a series of music workshops organised by Mrs Olive McManus, Head of Service in the SEELB and Mr Ricky Mattison, Musical director of 'Rich Music'. 'Rich Music' is the educational outreach section of the Ulster Orchestra. The children will work with members of the orchestra to 'compose' music to illustrate two stories, The Storm and The Rescue Party, by Nick Butterworth. The final event will be a performance of their compositions, attended by parents and teachers in the Elmwood Hall. Nick Butterworth hopes to attend.

At our Annual General Meeting last October we said 'au revoir' rather than goodbye to Lesley Flack, former Head of Service for the Hearing-Impaired in the Southern Education and Library Board. Lesley's successor, Rosemary Gardiner, paid tribute to Lesley's long and varied service as a Teacher of the Deaf. We all wish Lesley a long, peaceful and fulfilling retirement.

At the same meeting we also congratulated Wilma McCreary, former Head of Service in the South Eastern Education and Library Board who is continuing to enjoy her own retirement, on her recently awarded MBE. During her retirement Wilma is performing the invaluable task of archiving BATOD (NI) material.

And finally….further warm congratulations were also extended to Mary McCartan, another long-serving Teacher of the Deaf for being the Special Needs Teacher of the Year category winner for Northern Ireland in recent education awards. Mary is enjoying the opportunity of being a judge in the current competition.

Teresa Degnan, Northern Ireland representative

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03-12-05

The Northern Ireland Region AGM took place on Saturday 1 October in Craigavon Area Hospital. Attendance was good and we were delighted to welcome our National President, Carol Torrance. Carol spoke about the role of BATOD in 2005 and stressed the importance of the regions contributing their ideas and thoughts and ‘being part of the bigger picture’.

Despite her very early start, Carol's energy and enthusiasm was tangible and produced such motivation that we received a successful nomination for Chairman Elect - Mary Gordon - this office has been vacant for the past year.

Our second speaker was Mrs Wilma McCreery, former Head of Service in the South Eastern Education and Library Board. Wilma has spent many hours of her retirement seeking out and organizing BATOD NI's archives. She entertained us with some amusing extracts and made us reflect with some more serious ones. We are fortunate that Wilma has undertaken this task.

NI members have benefited hugely from the hard work and commitment of our outgoing NEC representative Margaret Nelson. Margaret has just completed six years on the NEC and we wish to express our very sincere thanks.

Newborn Hearing Screen was introduced to NI in October 2005. It is anticipated that approximately 30 babies will be identified annually. Unfortunately to date no additional funding has been made available within Education to develop an early support programme.

On 22 November, Peter Hain, NI Secretary of State announced the Outcome of the Review of Public Administration. This will mean huge changes in how local councils, health and education are structured. By April 2008 the five Education and Library Boards will merge to become a single Education Authority. It seems inevitable there will be re-organisation of the services for Hearing-Impaired children.

Report to NEC by Margaret Nelson, NI representative

24-09-05

At the end of the Summer Term a successful Northern Ireland regional meeting was held at Jordanstown Special Schools. Our invited speaker was unable to be with us due to illness. We were, however, fortunate to be addressed by Sue Boyd, from the Belfast Education and Library Board's Special Needs Department. She spoke on the subject of 'Synthetic Phonics'.

During the Summer Teresa Degnan, North Eastern Education and Library Board, Olive McManus, South Eastern Education and Library Board and Sue McCrum Chair, Batod Northern Ireland Region organised an in-service day for all Teachers of the Deaf in Northern Ireland. Lynn Ashcroft, a Speech and Language Therapist, introduced the Hanen Early Language Programme to the teachers. All five Education and Library Boards were represented. It is hoped in the future that ToDs from across the Province can meet in a similar fashion during at least one of their in-service days.

We are looking forward to our Regional AGM early in October when our National President will be with us.

Margaret Nelson has retired from NEC and a new NI reporter will be taking over the regular report to NEC meetings. At the successful AGM Margaret was presented with a book token to mark her long service representing Northern Ireland at National Executive Council meetings.

11-03-05

The summer meeting of the region took place on Tuesday 24 May at Jordanstown Special Schools. The speaker was Sue Boyd from the Belfast Education and Library Board. Sue spoke to the group about the Linguistic Phonics Programme which the Board is currently using in specific schools in the Belfast area. It is an attempt to give a ‘second chance’ to pupils who may not have succeeded with other reading approaches.

At the end of the evening a presentation was made to Lilian Southwell from the Southern Education and Library Board. Lilian is retiring having served over twenty-five years in the Drumgor Unit. This unit is now closing. The evening was rounded off with a wine and cheese celebration during which speakers took the opportunity to thank Lilian for all her hard work and support for Batod during this time.

The Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday, 8 October 2005, at the Postgraduate Centre, Craigavon Hospital. Carole Torrance, the BATOD National President will address the meeting.

Some units, both primary and secondary, have recently undergone an inspection/survey by the Department of Education, Northern Ireland (DENI). The Department seems to be considering how units are facilitating the inclusion of deaf pupils into mainstream. Reports are eagerly awaited.

Members of the Northern Ireland Region were saddened to learn of the death of Lilian Warnock. Lilian, a Teacher of the Deaf and an audiologist, had filled numerous teaching posts. Upon her recent retirement she had been Head of Service for the Peripatetic Service of the Belfast Education and Library Board and an audiologist working closely with the ENT Department staff in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Lilian had been an active member of Batod (NI) filling many offices within the Regional Group. She will be greatly missed by us all.

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13-03-05

The BATOD Northern Ireland regional committee met twice recently at the Ulidia Teachers' Centre, Belfast to discuss Association business and organise forth coming events.

Our first meeting considered the way forward for the training of Teachers of the Deaf. Our thoughts and reflections were forwarded to the BATOD President and Secretary. One major consideration noted was the isolation felt by Teachers of the Deaf in training, especially those from our particular Region.

The spring meeting held in early March was addressed by Jill Titterington (Speech Therapist) on the research she carried out during her secondment year to the Cochlear Implant Programme at the Belfast City Hospital. Sharon Brown, an audiologist, shared her experiences with us regarding her involvement in the universal neo-natal hearing screening programme in Northern Ireland. A wide range of professional colleagues attended.

For a number of years the special interest group (SIG) in the Region has focussed upon Cochlear Implants. It was thought that the group should now look at another area. It was suggested an interesting departure might be that of 'early years'. Olive McManus has agreed to become chair of the group.

Currently we are collating all correspondence, records and memorabilia connected to the Region. By the summer meeting in May it is hoped to collect together as many items as possible to allow members to 'view' them. A former member, Wilma McCreery, has agreed to become Honorary Archivist for the Region. The opportunity will be taken at this meeting for the usual summer celebrations.

For many years the Northern Ireland representative to the NEC was Ann Ross. When the NEC visited Belfast in September 2003 Ann and her husband Bill joined us on the Friday evening for the wine reception. Ann was delighted to renew her friendship with many NEC members. Sadly Ann's death has just been announced. In this Region we will miss her and remember her and all the wonderful work that she carried out for BATOD in this part of the UK.

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04-12-04

The Northern Ireland Region of BATOD met on Saturday, 6 November 2004 at the Postgraduate Centre, Craigavon Area Hospital. The speaker at this meeting was Carina Newman, an Educational Audiologist and Advisory Teacher of the Deaf with Shropshire Education Authority. Over thirty members attended. All five Education and Library Boards were represented.

During the first session Carina gave an excellent presentation and updated us about digital hearing aids. The second session was a "hands-on" workshop. One workshop was taken by Carina and we were fortunate that Brian Montgomery, an Audiologist with the North Eastern Education and Library Board, was able to share his expertise with us in the other workshop. We all benefited from the sessions. Teachers of the Deaf in Northern Ireland have not received training in digital hearing aids from any source other than BATOD so the sessions were especially valuable for us all. It is hoped to organise more information/up-date sessions for our members.

Between the two sessions our AGM took place. Antonette Burns, having completed her term of office as Chairperson, handed over the reins (along with some words of wisdom) to Sue McCrum. Margaret Hanna, Belfast Education and Library Board also joined the regional committee. Teresa Degnan, Head of the Education and Audiology Service of the North Eastern and Library Board became an NEC representative filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Jean McIlroy. The position of Chairperson Elect has been left unfilled for the present.

Afterwards a large number of the BATOD members remained to share a meal together. Lots of BATOD news was exchanged and much incidental learning took place!!

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Report to NEC by Jean McIlroy, Northern Ireland Representative

25-09-04

BATOD Northern Ireland held a well attended twilight meeting in Stranmillis University College on 25 March. Mary Kean of DELTA gave a talk on the modernisation of hearing aids, using PowerPoint to illustrate the various models. She ably dealt with questions from some of our members who needed information on the attributes of the aids.

The second speaker was Veronica O'Hagan, the Head of Service for Glasgow. She delivered a very interesting talk on emergent writing and literacy. Veronica showed examples of some children's work and suggested that visual stimulus should be used very frequently to encourage the children to be more creative in their writing. She has found this way of working to reap benefits. The audience received these talks very positively.

The committee met on 5 May to organise the forthcoming summer meeting which took place in Rathvarna Teachers' Centre, Lisburn on 19 May. Glen Houston, Principal Audiological Scientist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast gave an overview of the development of hearing aids. Glen illustrated the talk with PowerPoint slides. He outlined a short history of the hearing aid from analogue via programmable to digital aids, commenting on the greater precision in fitting aids today with the use of the computer. The audience was very appreciative of this up-to-date information.

After Glen's talk there was a buffet reception during which Teresa Degnan presented me with a generous gift from the BATOD members to mark my retirement from teaching. The gift was truly appreciated.

The Regional Strategy Group continues to discuss the needs of and provision for post-primary deaf students. Following a meeting with Don Leeson, (Equality Commission), BATOD was asked to nominate two members to represent the association.

Teresa Degnan and Olive McManus, Heads of Service in NEELB and SEELB respectively, have been invited onto the consortium to respond to the Public Draft Order Consultation Document on Special Education Needs and Disability (NI) Order 2004.

The AGM has been arranged for 6 November, when Carina Newman will deliver a talk on the modernisation of hearing aids. At present it is the policy of BATOD NI to have speakers on this topic due to the lack of training initiatives. It is our only way of equipping ourselves with much needed information.

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19-06-04

The Northern Ireland Committee met at the beginning of February to organise forthcoming events. There will be a twilight meeting in Stranmillis University College on 25 March, when Mary Kean of Delta will speak on the modernisation of hearing aids. At the same meeting, Veronica O'Hagan will give a talk on emergent writing and will also discuss the developmental stages which take place in literacy. The end of year function has been organised for 19 May. The venue will be Rathvarna Teachers' Centre, Lisburn. At the meeting, Glen Houston, Royal Victoria Hospital, will give up-to-date information on digital hearing aids. My retirement will also be marked at the function.

December NEC,January 2004 Magazine

It was decided at the NEC meeting in June 2003 to have the next meeting in Belfast. Some members of the Northern Ireland Committee were then involved in hastily arranging accommodation and a venue for 20 September.

The NEC members were welcomed with a wine and cheese reception in Queen's University on the Friday, giving them an opportunity to meet with NI colleagues. The usual NEC business took place on the Saturday when several members of the NI Committee observed the association business. David Hartley, speaking on behalf of the NEC, expressed his thanks to those who were involved in making the meeting a success. Likewise, the NI members who attended, appreciated the chance to observe the proceedings.

On 11 October, David Hartley returned to the province to speak at the Annual General Meeting in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown. The topic was 'Teacher of the Deaf in the 21st century'. David outlined some of the issues which may see a changing role for the Teacher of the Deaf in the near future. some of the issues are already presenting a challenge such as Newborn Hearing Screening which involves the ToD in multi-agency working. David also suggested changes may well occur in the field of Cochlear Implants, medical science, technology and education. All these will have implications for the ToD. The audience was very appreciative of David's talk during which there were many lively discussions.

Antonette Burns presented a gift to Wilma McCreary, Head of Service in the South-Eastern Education and Library Board, on her retirement. Wilma had been a dedicated Teacher of the Deaf for many years. Wilma intends to document some of the BATOD NI archives, so when she has completed the task, the archives will be handed on to Fiona Mackenzie for their safe-keeping in Birmingham University.

At the Annual General Meeting, Sue McCrum of the Belfast Education and Library Board, became Chair-elect to replace Carol McConaghy who has become a Teacher of the Visually Impaired. Allan Offord resigned as Secretary to the committee so his position was filled by Wendy Martin of the South-eastern Education and Library Board.

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