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

Deaf Educational Support Forum

held at the RNID on 1st March 2010 at 3pm


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

Apologies: Sue Lewis

2.Actions from previous meeting:

  • PAS and AB are keeping NatSIP up to date with the activities of DESF.
  • PAS has sent the link re training courses on BATOD website.
  • PAS has had no reply but is to persist with Ofqual re OLMs.

3.A query had been raised about students needing level 2 English to proceed to a level 3 course. For some students this is preventing them accessing appropriate courses. This is up to the discretion of the tutor and college who are under pressure regarding student retention and achievement and the link to funding. This may create an attitude of preventing difficulties with funding by creating a glass ceiling, by refusing students with poor literacy skills in various ways and by not acknowledging their cognitive/other abilities and providing appropriate support. Andrew pointed out that there were similar strictures for all people hearing or deaf people wishing to train as teachers or Teachers of the Deaf although it is widely agreed that a ToD needs such literacy skills in order to be able to teach the breadth of the curriculum. It was agreed that the issue should be raised with Ofqual. Nicki Harris will make contact with the Ofqual official she is dealing with over matters of ESOL. Note: NDCS has expressed similar concerns about the requirements for Apprenticeships under the new arrangements. In later email discussions Nicki agreed also to raise with the Ofqual official the issue of e-assessment. This is up to the discretion of the tutor and college.

4. Nicki was not present at the recent AGM of ASLI but has received comprehensive information about it. There had not been a strong response to the DESF questionnaire. ASLI states that the new standards will not affect its members because there are different standards for interpreting. There will of course be some overlap. ASLI is experiencing significant internal difficulties over its new policy on CPD which many members claim is not appropriate – particularly where sanctions for non-compliance are involved. They question why ASLI should impose sanctions and are not sure what they would be. It is thought that as all members should be registered with an awarding body, that body should apply any sanctions.

5.Andy highlighted the responses from the questionnaire. He noted that some figures didn’t add up. He distributed graphs illustrating the results. He pointed out that 11.52% have the BTEC CSW qualification. There had been no response or feedback from Wales. Paul undertook to pass the questionnaire on to Margate and Simon to Mary Hare and the Berkshire sensory consortium.

6. Maria gave an update on the I-Sign project. She expressed her thanks to Jill and Andy for helping to get all the work into LLUK on time. There was a long period of no response until mid–February. There has still been no formal response to the work submitted. However, in mid-January the LLUK website announced the development of the CSW pathway. The Proposal and questionnaire was available for a 3 week consultation period – accessible from the Signature website. The response was good. The feedback split between those who have knowledge of how education works and those who don’t. There is no control over title, structure, words or units but it is possible to contextualise three of the four units. There is an advisory group of interpreters who are hostile to CSWs doing any interpreting or including the word ‘interpreting’ in the CSW qualification. Accordingly, one unit aimed at giving an ‘Introduction to Interpreting’ skills has been renamed ‘Enabling Bi-lingual Access’. It is important to remember that this is only initial training and it is assumed that there will be further progression. It is hoped to start in September 2010 - information should be sent to centres in May. The pilot centres include ERADE – other centres are offering to pilot the qualification. Initial discussions with Coventry College and Cambridge suggest they may work together. Other centres will be able to trial the qualification as it will be on the QCF from September 2010, once the qualification is accredited.

7.There are to be changes to BSL level 3. There will no longer be a Certificate and a NVQ route – Signature is developing a single qualification. There will be more choice – one topic can be the student’s own choice. It is hoped that the paperwork will be simpler than before. Training will take place around June. Signature will be attending the City Lit Day in April.

Paul passed comments to Maria about the current level 3 which had been passed on by a student – she will reply to Paul. One comment related to the booklist which is rather out of date. Maria asked for suggestions for colleagues who might be able to bring it up to date – Ruth Swanwick at Leeds and lecturers at other universities were suggested.

8.Updates: BATOD has a new president from March 13th – Gary Anderson. The annual conference which will be joint with speech and language therapists takes place on the same day. Andrew (LA service) raised an LSC document which has been produced in its final period of life. It will be distributed before and discussed at the next meeting.

Simon (Mary Hare training) stated that the BTEC for TAs has had many expressions of interest including one from Dublin.

ACSW has a joint meeting with the Ear Foundation on May 8th – the topic is adults with CIs. Its AGM on 22nd May will be joint with NATED; this makes sense as there is such overlap between the two organisations. The keynote speaker is Simon Ward speaking on emotional resilience. Maria has been asked to speak about the CSW development. It will take place in London – venue yet to be confirmed. Paul to email a contact from the St Cecilia’s school in Wandsworth to Andy.

NATED’s Chair, Will Stavert, is stepping down. The new Chair is Michelle Jones.

8.Date and time of next meeting: 7 June 2010 at RNID HQ at 3pm.

Paul Simpson, March 2010