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

Deaf Educational Support Forum

held at the RNID on 20th September 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)

Apologies:Simon Thompson

2. Matters arising:

  • Ofqual recently held a meeting to discuss access for deaf candidates to the Speaking and Listening section of the English GCSE. A pilot using SSE may be proposed.
  • We are still waiting to meet with Ofqual re the overlap between BSL interpreters and OLMs. Andy is keen that there is some understanding about the normal way of working which is not permitted by the current JCQ regulations. BSL cannot be used by an OLM. Action: Paul to write to Ofqual again.
  • Nicki responded to Alistair Wright’s enquiry about supporting deaf teachers in the classroom but has had no reply. Action: Paul to follow up with Alistair
  • BATOD is developing an online course for language modification hopefully with Signature.

3. Maria reported that final accreditation was achieved for the CSW qualification without the support of LLUK at the end of June. It is the first time for Signature to have a qualification accredited in the teaching and learning sector. They have now developed teaching packs for all the units. A resource bank for each unit is being built. As centres get approval they will get access to the packs and resource bank. There are two pilot centres: Exeter ERADE and Coventry City College. There has been a delay in the start of the pilots. It is hoped they will start in January. Other centres are waiting if these pilots cannot proceed. Most of Maria’s work is now done. Her role is now to assist and support the two centres; her time has been reduced to one day a month. It is hoped that Liz Burdess or Paul Parsons form Signature will attend future DESF meetings. All present expressed their warmest thanks to Maria for her contributions to the meeting on all subjects, not just the CSW qualification; Maria expressed in turn her thanks to the group members for their support. The group felt very strongly that it is important for Signature to attend future meetings as Maria’s contribution had been so positive. This is especially true as Signature is keen to expand more into teaching and learning. Action: Maria to pass these notes to Signature and confirm Signature representation on the DESF.

4. Supporting examinations. A group comprising Nicki, Jane Barden, Andy and Janet Williams has held meetings recently to discuss providing training for people supporting in exams, especially CSWs. It would be a stand-alone module for the CSW course. It is hoped to have written it in time for a pilot in June 2011. It would be a joint venture with the Surrey SSW course - Andy has undertaken to jointly deliver it with Nicki. It would be a Signature qualification but not part of the main course. It will be a national, not Surrey, module. They are meeting again on 2nd November. There will be 20 taught hours, 10 hours of private study and it will equal 3 credits. Maria will send Jill Newlands’ module about support and bilingual access to Nicki and Andy.

The issue of OLMs and SLI interpreters was discussed again including the use of video which is used in some centres. There is concern that some parts of new GCSE English requirements demand the use of unsubtitled podcasts which are not accessible to most deaf students.

5. There was a discussion about the effect of the current Government cuts. Much will depend on the Spending Review announcement on the 20th October. Surrey is already making cuts; there is no recruitment - this actually leads to a loss of income in certain services and leads to students not being supported. In Greenwich there is no recruitment and costs are robustly scrutinised. Kent has been reorganised into 12 districts; there is also a freeze on recruitment. Some colleges are using an agency - with not properly trained note takers. There is no money for training apart from internal training and inter-authority training. Ann pointed out that the rise in VAT and national insurance will affect deaf students because of their effect on agencies. SKILL is going to look into it.

6. LSIS has produced a questionnaire asking what is available to support students and is reviewing and collecting existing good practice materials, with the aim of identifying and filling any gaps and disseminating and publicising effective resources.

7. Andy distributed the latest findings from the DESF survey. Some points:

  • very few interpreters work in education
  • qualification levels of CSWs are higher than expected
  • most are called CSWs, some SSW
  • 42% are at levels three or four; 13% are at level 1.
It was agreed to put an article drawn from the survey findings in the March 2011 BATOD Magazine

8. Maria will have to withdraw from the organisation of the BATOD Annual conference workshop as her role has changed. Maria asked Paul to ask Ann Underwood to contact her so that she could tell her of the change of liaison person who is now Andy Owen. Action: Paul to contact Ann Underwood.

9. Update from organisations: NATED has a committee meeting next month. Maria spoke at a recent network meeting in Blackburn. Maria is on the NATED committee. Mel Thornley is representing note takers

ASLI has an away weekend soon. Nicki has presented paperwork about DESF but has had no response. There is to be a reshuffle of personnel. There is still dissent over CPD. The AGM is at the conference in October.

CHESS is reinventing itself and has contributed an article to the November BATOD Magazine.

ACSW is having difficulty locating training venues. Membership cards have been issued.

The Signature Level 4 BSL qualification is now level 6. The two level 3 BSL qualifications have now been merged into a Level 3 NVQ Certificate qualification. Cathy Barnes has left. There is a rethink of their business. They are looking to develop more punchy qualifications.

LA services. They are waiting to see the impact of academies; it may not be as severe as feared. There is concern about the future of the MQ qualification.

Andrew suggested that there should be a representative on DESF from someone working with school aged pupils. Action: Paul to advertise for such members in the Magazine.

BATOD is putting together a magazine on post-16 issues (November 2010) and the next one after that (January) will be on the subject of issues of support and TAs. Paul had recently met Michael Gove unexpectedly and pressed on him the need for more ToDs.

10. Date and place of next meeting: Monday 24th January 2011, at 3pm. At the RNID if possible. Action: Paul to write to Jackie Ballard thanking the RNID for giving us a room during the CSW qualification development period and asking for a room and a rep.