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

Deaf Educational Support Forum

held at the RNID on Monday, 24th January, 2011 at 3pm


Maria Bailey (MB)
Jane Barden (JB)
Ann Crocker-Smith (AC)
Andy Owen (AO)
Paul Simpson (PAS) (chair and secretary for this meeting)
Janet Williams (JW)

Apologies: Andrew Burgess, Nicki Harris, Simon Thompson

3. The notes of the last meeting were held to be a true record.

4. Actions arising from the last meeting:

  • A meeting was arranged with Ofqual about OLMs and SLIs and this is an agenda item for this meeting
  • Paul wrote to Alistair Wright again
  • Maria will pass on to Signature the need to retain representation on the DESF once her project is finished.
  • Ann Underwood, conference organiser for BATOD, has made contact with Andy who will run the workshop with Pat Taylor
  • Andy raised the issue of who is responsible in the classroom when there are several adults
  • There has been no response to an appeal in the BATOD Magazine for someone working with school aged pupils to join DESF
  • Paul will write to Jackie Ballard about future RNID representation on DESF and the associated use of a room.

5. Andy introduced his paper about including the approved use of BSL by OLMs. Following a meeting at Ofqual to raise the issue after BSL was removed from the list of what can be used by an OLM for 2010 – 2011, he and Janet Williams were asked to produce the rationale. In summary, the use of BSL along with the other aspects, replicates exactly the way of working of CSWs when supporting deaf students. The arrangement would only be granted if the student had significant comprehension difficulties - the key criterion for being granted an OLM.

The group agreed to support it subject to the agreement of the constituent organisations. If approval is gained JCQ will be approached with the rationale

He will underline the need to retain rigour whilst providing access. There is clear confusion over the role of BSL Historically communicators were not separated into oral ones and those using BSL. Research into OLMs has given rise to concerns – there have been examples of OLMs changing the question and disadvantaging the candidate thereby. It may be necessary to insist on their training. It would be possible to make it a stand-alone part of the support qualification. There is an issue too with quality assurance as there is with the use of BSL. In Surrey HE all BSL support is videoed. This is also the case in Scotland but it is expensive and time-consuming. Anne hoped that it would not become mandatory too quickly or it would be difficult to find people to do it. Other reasonable adjustment concerns related to the use of poorly designed multiple-choice questions. It was agreed that the OLM paper would be circulated to colleagues and responses sent to Andy.

6. Effects of cuts: At present the Surrey PSS is unaware of any changes which will affect staffing. The Post 16 service has been given the go ahead to recruit and deliver the OCN course again this year as there is a waiting list of students. They would like to include the examination module in their CPD programme so are now going through the necessary meetings with OCN for accreditation. It can be adapted to fit through the OCN – in March it will be ready to submit to the Business Manager of the OCN. This would be the 6th unit of their established course. There is general concern at the lack of training budgets and worries that TAs will replace CSWs; the TA would be a generalist. BATOD is looking into what is statutory but pointing out that many other aspects of support are nevertheless essential.

Jill was concerned about the introduction of generic locality teams which effectively dilute the specialism. Further concern arises from the fact that unless students are government funded they have no right to funded support. The DSA is being tightened up. Connexion services are being reduced and there is concern about the S139A assessment.

7. Andy has completed and published the DESF survey. Colleagues can put it on their websites. Perhaps it should be redone every two years? The survey findings have certainly thrown light on the information known about the skill levels and qualifications of CSWs. It shows where there are big training gaps.

8.The I-Sign project funding finishes at the end of March 2011. Maria has had feedback from pilot centres: Coventry started in October. There were 20 initial expressions of interest but these are now down to 6 who finally enrolled. Employers are refusing to pay the £1000 fees. The participants comprise five working CSWs without any qualification and one new to the post. Exeter delayed its start and is relying on internal participants. There have been expressions of interest from other centres. Maria has some funding to make contacts and can offer discounts to centres who register before the end of the project. Cambridge is very keen as are Manchester and the City Lit. West Cheshire, Hopwood Hall Rochdale, Hull and Derby are also interested. It is hoped that there will be up to 10 centres from September. TDA has made contact and is keen to work on developing a diploma for CSWs and TAs working in schools. LLUK is closing at the end of March. However, the National Occupational Standards have been approved - they will be adapted into the Signature format.

9. Paul raised a concern about some research into language modification taking place at Ofqual. There is a proposal – not based on any understanding – to check the appropriateness of modifications by “back translating” (their term) from BSL used in assessments. We have informed them that this would be totally meaningless and provide no useful information. 9. Any Other Business

  • A GCSE in BSL is being developed by Signature; also a level 6 qualification in BSL translation.
  • JB mentioned some research into note-taking from Signature – to define the role – currently there is no-one named in the category on the national register.

10. Date and time of next meeting: Monday, May 9th 2011 at 3pm at the RNID.