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

Deaf Educational Support Forum

held at Action on Hearing Loss on Monday, 14th October, 2011 at 3pm

1. Present: Helen Arber (secretary for this meeting), Maria Bailey, Jill Bussien, Ann Crocker-Smith, Jane Barden (for Nicky Harris), Andy Owen, Paul Simpson (chair for this meeting), Melanie Thorley

Apologies: Nicki Harris, Simon Thompson

2. Notes of last meeting

Revised notes were agreed as representative

3. Actions and other matters arising

  • Action carried forward - Ann to progress content for an article on DSA funding. March edition has a communication focus, copy deadline in December.
  • All other actions completed/covered in agenda. No matters arising.

4. Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) umbrella body annual revision of access arrangements Jill Bussien arrived during this item.

Rolling review of special considerations. Most discussion centred on issues linked to e-assessment with anecdotal evidence clearly pointing toward unfavourable treatment for deaf students. Letter to Ofqual has been sent on same. Consensus that some study/research required to capture evidence from which to develop recommendations to put to JCQ.

AC-S fed back content from NADP email discussion on increasing difficulty in evidencing or ‘proving’ disability to awarding bodies. JB illustrated contrast with <16 where admin burden has reduced (ie evidence required on inspection only) and the revised Form 8, as basis for online application, is improved.

Action: Paul to follow up with contacts at NDCS, flagging issue in hope that they will adopt as a source of focus.

Action: Paul to link with Julie Swann (Head of Policy) at AAQAG meeting 17/10/11.

Action: As deemed suitable, Action on Hearing Loss can introduce subject to social media channels to generate comment

5. Update on CSW course pilots

  • Coventry completed in July 2011. Very high standard (Maria B moderated). 6 students completed. Sample portfolio for future training purposes developed from this cohort.
  • ERADE complete end Easter 2012, 4 students.
  • Further interest being shown from other colleges including West Cheshire.

6. DESF survey.

Initial survey in 2010. Bi-annual repeat. Simon has converted into survey monkey format. ACSW has responded to draft but uncertain if current version has that incorporated.

Action: Simon to circulate latest version within a week. ACSW Chair content to be included. Dissemination mechanism to be decided.

Action: CHESS, TOD, HOSS, ANP networks as basis for circulation

Action: HA to determine if Action on Hearing Loss has an email mailing list for HE, FE and schools disability/sensory/access personnel.

7. Changing the letterhead

Action: AO to update letterhead to include CHESS, ANP and Action, perhaps revisit design in effort to fit them all in! Action: All of above to send logo and web addresses to AO.

8. Oral Language Modifiers

3 year pilot re-instating OLMs now complete. Research launched and still within that phase. DESF welcomes research though suspects complex basis to superficial low uptake of OLMs from ranks of ToD, CSW etc

Action: Watching brief with need to be alert to opportunities to consult/engage in constructive discussion on topic.

Discussion on training mentioning CIEA course for OLM that publicised as being short but expensive, plus a London Level 6 course, details of which uncertain.

Action: MT to clarify London L6 offer Action: Jane to determine if English is a pre-requisite of if equivalency is acceptable (Check the correlation with BSL support).

Comment that change of name from OLM would make it easier to dovetail as a module into the ECSW qual. Comment that there remains a query about who is delivering the service and who (if anyone) is paying for the training of modifiers.

9. Ongoing effects of cuts

Discussion including:

  • Low qualification level of notetakers as a result of lack of funding
  • DSA cap as a downward pressure on choice and quality
  • Increasing penetration of (unqualified) agency staff
  • Lack of transcripts or clips and other study material due to £ restrictions
  • Hearsay that Student Finance England not intending to increase DSA ceiling, indeed possibly reviewing premise for existence in Autumn 2012.
  • Strong anecdotal evidence that deaf students being refused HE places due to cost of communication support
  • Action on Access to be disbanded from 2012
  • Aim Higher closed
  • ACSW training events experiencing low uptake suspected due to self funding requirement
  • From 2013, 25+ will pay full cost of provision making them ineligible for support

Policy context contradictions noted:

  • Newborn hearing screening protected but lack of support through education despite advantage of need being identified earlier
  • Low incidence/high intervention, special needs require central, or at least regional funding, to avoid support being dependent upon willingness of individual institutions to pay
  • Central budgets being top-sliced to finance the academy drive, ever devolved budgetary control
  • 0 – 25 years integrated plan (in Pathfinders currently) should in theory highlight lack of holistic/cohesive services in current models
Action: MT to feed issues through to student Ambassador within NUS to get on their agenda Action: JB to send electronic copy of paper on transitions to group Action: watching brief

10. Representation on DESF

Desire to see additional < 16 practitioner representation on group

Action: PS to send HA list of criteria to send out with agreed notes

Action: HOSS forum to advertise

Action: Linda Watson to be approached as means to target ToD trainees & Course providers to be targeted

11. Review Non Medical Helpers (NMH) for DSA consultation

A C-S Open consultation

  • Roles linked to deaf students clearly defined v those of other disabilities
  • Possibility that banding of support functions will be a threat to status/recognition. (Scottish equivalent already has banding)

Has met with DSA to position view

Action: watching brief

12. Updates from the organisations

CHESSA C-S on maternity leave from December (congratulations); Judith Hutchinson will replace on DESF.

ANP no hyphen in ‘notetaker’. 35k Lottery grant to enable publicity.

ACSW 3 new posts available on the committee (vice chair, volunteer co-ordinator and funding officer).

NATED Developing ‘kitemark’ for college units’ support

Next conference likely to be in Derby

A C-S to send dates

ASLI Nicky to forward to HA to send out with agreed notes

BATOD Ofqual consulting on GCSEs. Features include resit options reduced, linear rather than modular format, more emphasis on spelling throughout all exams. Concern is lack of equality for deaf students as a result. Deadline for responses November 5th

Signature Attached as separate paper to these notes

Action on Hearing Loss I-Sign Consortium meeting with Sarah Teather to make case for extension of BSL provision (from 0 – 25 including all support functions) in recognition that represents a deaf child’s human right to access language

Date of next meeting: Action on Hearing Loss, Monday 16th January 2012, 3pm.