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

Deaf Educational Support Forum

held at the RNID on 30th November 2009 at 3pm


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

Apologies: Sue Lewis

2. It was agreed that the notes were a true representation of the previous meeting except that NH had indicated that the guidelines for interpreters working in educational settings were on the ASLI website (in the Guidance section) rather than that she was going to circulate them.

3. Matters arising from the previous meeting:

  • Lindsey Rousseau, facilitator of NatSIP, is aware of DESF and its role. PAS and AB will keep her updated.
  • Gillian Coles of Berkshire has produced a list drawn up by SERSEN of training opportunities for those working with SI children. Action: NH will forward the document to members of the group.
  • BATOD will host a page on its website listing qualifications for those working in a support role. This can be updated when new information is available. Action: Paul to email link to the group (; Articles >>Learning Support >> Courses for CSWs, Teaching Assistants/LSAs and similar professionals)
  • NH will raise the data collection issue at the forthcoming ASLI NEC and report back next time as well as raising the issue of who is employing whom Action: NH to report back about outcome of NEC meeting
  • PAS will suggest to BATOD that the role of the TA may be a suitable topic for a forthcoming conference Action: PAS to do this
  • AB has had some success with the informal questionnaire to heads of service through persistence - MB has the findings

4.The group considered the logos which AO had designed. He was congratulated on his work. After a short and focussed discussion it was agreed to adopt the one containing the offset square – at the top of the agenda of the day. There will be some modifications to the accompanying text and the colour will be changed to lilac to improve contrast for VI readers. The letters will be white. The logos of the individual organisations in the footer will contain the home page address.

5.The questionnaire about levels of qualification and numbers of support workers was discussed. It is almost ready to be sent out any proposed amendments should be sent to AO before the end of Tuesday 1 December.

There was a discussion about which staff go into which category; it was agreed to remove the ‘peripatetic’ category; it was agreed also to ask a question about the use of agencies asking for details so information could be built up. NH will also ask about agencies on the e-group. ST suggested that we make it clear on the form why we are asking this question and he formulated a sentence about this. The questionnaire will be finalised and sent out by the end of the week with an initial return date of December 18th 2009. Non-respondents could be followed up later. Action NH will ask about agencies on the e-group.

6.Maria updated the group on the I-Sign project.

She had a meeting with Edexcel about joint awarding but was warned that in the current climate the AB might not continue with it and this decision was indeed made. NATED was not informed even though Maria had been assured that they would be. She was pleased to say that Signature, ACSW and NATED were all now working together on the qualification. The working title is Level 3 Cert in Learning Support (Educational Communication Support Worker or CSW). As the majority of CSWs are working in education it is hoped to be able to drop the work Educational.

A meeting also took place with LLUK. A tight series of deadlines has been laid down if it is to be accredited by May/Jun 2010 including online consultation at which point it would go on the Qualification Curriculum Framework. The role of BSL is crucial and has indeed stimulated the qualification’s development so must be a central part but other key aspects of the work of a CSW will need to be strongly represented through the units also. It is possible that entry will be at level 2 BSL and English. It is important that the initiative shows development of skills in BSL. It was pointed out that there are no national standards at level 3 for interpreting. CILT is currently developing standards for preparing to interpret – in all languages including sign language.

The Signature interpreting advisory group will be advising on the development of the course. There may be some resistance from the interpreting professionals. The course should include units, which will have equal priority and status, on note-taking; extending language; audiological issues; supporting young people with CIs supporting for exams; those with other disabilities; mental health issues. There will also be compulsory units from the LLUK framework.

A meeting with TDA in Manchester was less encouraging. The TDA is developing one qualification at level 3 for all support workers which will be embedded in the National Curriculum – it will be entitled “Support for Teaching and Learning”– it is not going to possible to have a qualification to suit schools and colleges. This is very much in the development stage at the moment but will be open to consultation. There is concern about the fact that schools often employ their own LSAs and find training them to be expensive.

Maria was thanked for sending the group her I-Sign Project research findings.

7.PAS and AO were amongst colleagues who had received a very skeletal account of a qualification in development by the University of Leeds – well established in the training of ToDs. It was agreed that before comment could be made on the suitability of the course – despite their strong reputation in the field - we would need to know about entry criteria including what degrees would be acceptable, modes of delivery, assessment; external certifiers; much more detail on the structure of the course.

8.AO raised concerns about Oral Language Modifier Training. There are ongoing concerns that the training does not have enough depth, is expensive and needs strengthening. The future of the OLM is still in doubt as there are concerns about the number of technical terms which are being inappropriately explained. It was agreed that PAS would contact Ofqual asking for a meeting on behalf of the DESF about this. The urgent need to raise awareness in schools and centres about access arrangements which are available was raised. In particular parents and schools need to be aware when options are being made (now in Year 8 in some cases) of the implications of their choices for assessment throughout and at the end of the course. Action: PAS will contact Ofqual asking for a meeting.

9.Update from the organisations: ACSW is working with Maria on the qualification development; ASW tries to increase membership through meetings mainly rather than advertising.

  • BATOD’s conference in March 2010 is a joint one with the RCSLT; Gary Anderson becomes the President in March; there is a Special membership of BATOD for TAs/CSWs etc.
  • ASLI: there has been no change in personnel; the current debate within the organisation is about compulsory CPD which has been agreed at the AGM but is not finding favour with a significant number of members who point out that they are not an awarding body.
  • NATED is also working on the qualification; they will make contact re reviving regular/annual meetings with BATOD
  • Signature: all is progressing well.

    10. The date and place of the next meeting will be 1st March 2010 at 3pm at the RNID if a room can be secured.

    Summary of actions:

    1. PAS and AB will keep NatSIP updated about the work of DESF.
    2. NH will forward the document about training opportunities for professional working with CYP with SI to members of the group.
    3. NH to report back about outcome of ALI NEC meeting at next DESF meeting.
    4. PAS to pass on link to training course/qualification page on BATOD website.
    5. PAS to suggest role of TA for future BATOD conferences.
    6. All to send final comments to AO re the questionnaire by the end of Tuesday December 1st.
    7. AO to make agreed adjustments to the logo and accompanying text.
    8. AO to send out the questionnaire.
    9. NH will ask about agencies on the e-group.
    10. PAS will contact Ofqual asking for a meeting re OLMs and their training.
    11. MB to confirm the availability of a room at the RNID for the next meeting.
    Paul Simpson. December 2009