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

Deaf Educational Support Forum

held at the RNID on Monday, 9th May, 2011 at 3pm

1. Present: Maria Bailey, Andrew Burgess, Jill Bussien (chair for this meeting), Ann Crocker-Smith, Nicky Harris, Andy Owen, Paul Simpson (secretary for this meeting), Simon Thompson

2. Notes of last meeting: Paul has not written to Jackie Ballard yet because Maria is still attending the meetings.

One correction was made to the notes of the last meeting - OVN should be OCN

3. Actions and other matters arising

There were no matters arising.

4. OLMs

The DESF document asking for changes to the practice and name of OLMs had been submitted to Ofqual. The ABs rejected the idea – in a meeting with JCQ – to reintroduce the use of BSL. However Ofqual and the other UK regulators accepted it so it will be available for the 2012 – 13 exam season.

Ann highlighted the difference between technical language, subject language and carrier language and the difficulty of discriminating between them. A glossary or some highlighting of the words would help but this is not practical according to the ABs. Potential OLMs should be aware of the content of the course but OLMs used are not always the same colleagues who have worked with the candidate during the course.

It was noted that SLIs are not quality assured or monitored (although some self-video). It is important that the same arrangements are used in mock exams to prepare the candidates and determine whether there are any difficulties. Action: Each organisation should look at the JCQ regulations and propose possible changes and decide whether to submit a DESF response

5. Update on CSW course pilots

These are taking place at Exeter and Coventry. Maria is due to visit City College Coventry this week to meet the students and undertake some moderation. The Coventry pilot started in October and will continue until June. There is a small internal cohort at ERADE in Exeter – this will run from Easter to Easter. Maria has also visited 7 centres who may wish to run the course – they are all very enthusiastic and have applied for centre approval. Finance is a concern and depends on local funding priorities which then affects fees which students have to pay. The fees in Coventry are about £1000 at present because of the discount from being part of the pilot.

Training events are being arranged for tutors, trainers and assessors. There is such a meeting on 23rd May 2011 in London with Jill Newlands and Maria.

TDA is still interested in working with Signature to develop a diploma for TAs working with deaf children. They have said that they will contact Signature when they are in a position to proceed with the development.

6. Implications of current regime of cuts; potential effect of loans for fees for over 24's on level 3 and above courses

All training budgets have been cut which affects subsidising teachers on a range of courses eg the University is charging the full rate for SLI course at UCLAN. ToD Training will also be affected 2013/14 as there will be no subsidy to the courses.

Any student not on JSA or ESA and aged over 24 following a level 3 or above course will have to pay his or her own fees and apply for loan similar to students in HE.

The picture is mixed elsewhere: the CSR effects have now had time to bed down: Greenwich has been fortunate - no frontline service has been affected; there is concern that the personalised budget proposed in the Green Paper could be used to pay for transport which has been cut in some areas. Other LAs have seen 25% cuts and are not being allowed to recruit. It is feared that there are further cuts to come; NDCS has launched a Cuts Watch website showing where cuts to services for deaf children have taken place; there is a further threat from academy status to services; funding for deaf children without statements after 2012 is unclear; in Kent only severely and profoundly deaf children are being supported and children with moderate losses are only see if they have complex needs.

7. DESF survey At the moment the outcomes of the DESF are to be found on the ACSW website. Paul will link it to the BATOD website. Action. It would be good to carry it out again next year but Andy would like someone else to take it on. No-one was forthcoming so we decided all to look at the questionnaire; then everyone could distribute a revised version and collect the evidence. Simon is happy to set it up as an online survey on Survey Monkey. Action: Andy will send the questionnaire to the group.

8. BATOD annual conference

This had been a valuable day. 5 delegates attended Andy and Pat Taylor’s – there was a good feel to the conference.

9. Raising awareness of NOS for CSW

The National Occupational Standards have been completed and are on the LLUK website. It was agreed that Maria, Andy and Jill would write an article about this matter to raise awareness amongst ToDs. Action. 10.Representation on DESF of those working with school-aged young people. The group would still welcome someone predominantly working with school aged children to join the DESF group – Andrew undertook to write a profile of such a person so that we can advertise. Action. 11.It was agreed to contact the ANP (association of note-taking professionals) who work mainly post-16 – Mel Thorley is the contact – to ask whether they would wish to join DESF. Action: Andy to contact Mel.

12. Recent developments in Signature

Maria updated the group on Signature’s current and future activity including the development of a half day Deaf Awareness Course, BSL 101 courses for different groups, including young people, GCSE in BSL and a BSL translation course. More details are in a separate document to be supplied by Maria. Action.

13. Updates from other organisations in addition to points made earlier in the meeting

ACSW is holding a joint conference in Durham with NATED; Andy has been asked to stay on as Vice-Chair of ACSW; the two bodies will hold separate AGMs; ACSW is changing its constitution to increase the number of committee members including adding a vice-chair.

MHTS is holding a conference using alumni to talk to young deaf people about career opportunities.

BATOD is increasing its collaborative working through NatSIP and, especially at the moment, with VIEW.

CHESS is tidying up its report following its survey looking at funding and implications of support for disabled people in universities - in particular looking at the use of DSA funding. Paul suggested an article for the magazine. Ann will follow up with someone she has in mind. Action. ASLI is concerned about the increasing use of agencies which supply SLIs; in particular their very high admin charges which are using up the students’ grants – which can thus run out by February. The whole issue of freelancers in education will be explored. Student Finance England has noticed this funding issue. The new ASLI chair would like to attend a future meeting of DESF. This suggestion was welcomed. Talking about Surrey, Nicky pointed out that numbers of students has gone through the roof and more staff are being trained as a consequence.

14. AOB

Connexions is no longer working with young people who are on School Action and School Action Plus – these students can’t get S139A and their needs may thus only be recognised once the course has begun. Connexions are now hosted in a consultancy - they have undergone a 45% cut in staffing.

Date of next meeting: RNID, 3rd October, 2011 at 3pm