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

Deaf Educational Support Forum

held at the RNID on 7th June 2010 at 3pm


Maria Bailey (MB)
Andrew Burgess (AB)
Jill Bussien (JB) (Chair for this meeting)
Ann Crocker-Smith (AC)
Nicki Harris (NH)
Andy Owen (AO)
Paul Simpson (PAS) (Notes for this meeting)
Simon Thompson (ST)

Apologies: Andrew Burgess, Sheena Hull, Judith Hutchinson, Sue Lewis

2. Notes of previous meeting: Maria had been present at the meeting.

  • Nicky has still not had a reply to her enquiry to Ofqual about the difficulties experienced by deaf students wishing to undertake level 3 courses but not able to achieve the required level 2 in Communication. One issue is that the test - which is said to have been modified to make it accessible for deaf students - is online and contains multiple-choice questions. It was agreed that she should approach JCQ and explore equivalence through Adult literacy skills. It was agreed that this is a problem for a number of deaf students. In many cases BSL is not an option.
  • Maria replied to the email which a CSW had sent to Paul raising queries about guidance available from Signature for teachers/assessors of the BSL 3 qualification.

3. Nicky had already sent a comprehensive reply to an enquiry about interpreters supporting deaf teachers in mainstream classrooms. There are no specific guidelines but the working practice guidance for interpreters would apply. Funding should be available though Access to Work. Action: Nicky to respond again.

4. Enquiry from a colleague seeking information and job descriptions for CSWs in an area where they had not been used to a great extent. Maria said she was happy to respond and send information highlighting areas of the Signature website which would be helpful. Concerns were raised about schools which appoint CSWs or interpreters where the school has no knowledge about CSWs. Head teachers are not always seeking specialist advice or appropriate participation in interviews. The development of the CSW qualification, recognised throughout the country, would be helpful and could be incorporated into the development of a protocol related to the appointment of CSWs. Action: Paul to contact enquirer with Maria’s details.

5. A small group of colleagues met to discuss issues related to support for deaf students in examinations. It comprised Andy Owen, Nicky Harris, Jane Barden and Janet Williams. Amongst the topics discussed was making training available for professionals involved – several aspects were discussed. The target audience would be CSWs, interpreters, ToDs; some of this content could be incorporated into a stand-alone module in the CSW qualification. The group will meet again in the next two or three weeks. Action: Paul to send a link to the group to communicate-ed; a provider of training in this area. (Secretary’s note: BATOD is currently exploring with Ofqual the development of its current training of language of examination modifiers as Ofqual has recognised its responsibility in this area and the range of students for whom language modification is applicable is now much wider. The training may be delivered online or in other ways.) There was some discussion about the variability in support offered to deaf students at HE - each university has its own regulations and effective collaboration is mainly due to good personal relationships with Disability Advisers/Officers, Examinations Officers and Heads of Department. There is a need to raise awareness; concern was also expressed about the use of agency staff whose prime motivator seems to be money – there is little emphasis on qualification or accreditation. Action: Paul to send document by Hester Glass looking at support for students with disabilities in HE to the group.

6. Andy spoke about the DESF survey. After the initial responses, the survey was adapted and sent out again – there were four further responses. Andy will add these results to the original ones and produce a final document from this first year. It is intended to send it out again next year after Christmas and make it an annual activity.

7. There have been email discussions about the possible content of a workshop at the BATOD conference (Stronger Together, Newcastle area, 19th March 2011) related to the role of CSWs and other professionals in the classroom. It was agreed that Maria would lead the workshop and act as the contact person with Ann Underwood, the conference organiser. Action: Paul to pass on Maria’s details to Ann.

8. Maria gave an update on the I-Sign project. There has been progress but a number of obstacles has been encountered. National Occupational Standards are now complete and finalised – awaiting the cost of branding and editing from LLUK. One obstacle is that LLUK has currently lost its licence to approve qualifications - – awarding bodies can now bypass it and go straight to the QCF. They are awaiting news of accreditation at any time. All Signature qualifications have had to be resubmitted to the QCF; the wording has had to be changed to be compliant with the new ‘language’ of the QCF. QCF is part of the QCDA which is to be abolished by the new government which means that they are not dealing with outside agencies. Maria has met with the pilot centres for the new qualification - ERADE and City College, Coventry. There will be a regular meeting for all centres delivering the qualification after the pilot stage (from September 2010). The national register (NRCPD) has said that it will consider taking CSWs onto the register if the pilot is successful which will contribute hugely to the professionalisation of the CSW workforce.

9. Organisational update

NATED and ACSW held a joint conference in Greenwich; there were around 100 delegates. There was an excellent keynote speaker - Simon Ward - who spoke about flourishing students and emotional resilience. Maria gave a presentation on the progress of the development of the CSW qualification, as part of the I-Sign Project. There were six workshops. One looked at whether there should be a code of ethics for CSWs – ACSW thinks there should be. There is a link on the ASLI website to a redundant code on the Signature website which needs to be removed. Action: Nicki and Maria to follow up. The NATED Chair is Michelle Jones based in Manchester; Jill is the Vice-Chair.

There are changes afoot in ASLI. The committee is changing. Chris Stone is standing down as Chair. The Association has decided that from 1 June it should be compulsory for interpreters to gain CPD points every year. This has caused a split and some members, who do not think this is the role of ASLI especially if sanctions are to be involved, have set up a rival but very similar body called Visual Language Professionals.

ACSW had set up an event with Ear Foundation about adult CI users but it had to be cancelled due to poor take-up.

CHESS is re-launching itself - providing advice and sharing information and experience including for those meeting deaf students for the first time. It has established an electronic forum hosted by JISC. It is planned to have two open meetings per year - one in the north and one in the south.

Mary Hare Training There is to be a major conference in July.

Signature Following the resubmission of qualifications to the QCF, the Signature qualification previously described as Level 4, is now to be known as Level 6.pb BATOD/b is concerned about the future of two electronic fora widely used by its members - the HOSS forum and ToD list which are currently run by Becta which is being abolished by the government. The theme of the November Magazine will be post-16 issues. An article on note-taking was suggested and Maria agreed to write about the I-Sign Project.

10. Date and place of the next meeting: RNID (to be confirmed), 3pm, Monday 20th September, 2010.