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

Specialist training in the new millennium

prepared by Wendy McCracken, University of Manchester


To have an understanding of the current issues regarding specialist training for ToDs


  • To understand the changing population of deaf children
  • To consider the needs of the profession
  • To understand current trends in centres of training
  • To identify alternative/additional training routes
  • To gain your views on training options

Changing populations

  • NHSP
  • Unilateral and mild hearing loss
  • Auditory neuropathy
  • Populations where English is a second language
  • Sign bilingual children
  • Mainstreaming and devolution of services

Needs of the profession

  • Working in increasingly diverse settings mainstream, in class support, pre/post tutoring
  • In resource bases* more children with profound degrees of h. loss & additional learning needs
  • In special schools, increasingly specialised sign bilingual, high achievers, behaviour issues, SLi and…………..
  • Identification of the value added component of ToDs


  • Of very early language development
  • Of literacy and numeracy
  • Of language competence: pragmatic, lexical, syntactic, sign competence*, listening skills, speech intelligibility
  • Emotional intelligence*
  • Use of amplification
  • Room acoustics

New areas

  • Digital amplification
  • New FM technology
  • FM advantage protocol
  • New cochlear implant technology
  • Knowledge about language learning
  • Knowledge about ESL learning
  • INSET development and delivery
  • Resource management including www
  • Use of IT


  • Young, professionally mobile, trained staff
  • Funding should be available to best candidates
  • Deaf children should not be taught by unqualified staff for any extended period
  • There is more to learn now than ever before but less contact with training centres
  • The majority of teachers in training are doing it “on the margins”

Why now?

  • The merger of Victoria Uni of Manchester and UMIST
  • Reorganisation into five new faculties
  • Future of Deaf Education at Manchester was in question (NOTE IT IS SECURE NOW!!!)
  • Action needed to secure training nationally
  • Deaf Education now within School of Psychological Sciences in Faculty of Human and Medical Sciences

Higher Education

  • Funding stream is through research and the RAE
  • Education faculties nationally scored badly this directly effects viability
  • Little research activity on deaf education
  • Lack of PhD candidates or route in
  • Low numbers within University setting
  • Lack of staff and problems with recruitment
  • BUT excellent library/ research information, good lab facilities, range of professional staff, opportunities for wider view of issues, range of practice; ageing university staff; post-grad students want and financially need to work; lack of appropriate applications; students enter profession; little opportunity to develop research

What do we know??

  • Exact numbers of children with a degree of hearing loss affects their learning and quality of life.
  • Numbers of FTE qualified ToDs
  • Age profile of ToDs
  • Ability to move to jobs??
  • Time some deaf children are taught by non qualified staff
  • Number of children identified with permanent childhood deafness: extrapolated 63,400 ( based on available research)
  • Number of qualified ToDs estimated to be 2,000
  • 50/50 split - ½ over 45
  • No data available
  • No data available
  • Any negotiation with DfES will need “hard” data

HI review of MQ training 2004

  • Parents, teachers, LEAs and voluntary organisations have high regard for MQs
  • Quality is at least good and in the majority very good
  • Quality of training in the workplace is more variable
  • Employers frequently fail to recognise support and resources inc. time that course participants require
  • Progress is rigorously assessed
  • But not well linked to specialist SEN standards
  • As a result of training most teachers are able to raise the standards of achievement of pupils not only academic but also life skills
  • Training in the workplace is often limited by funding avaiable
  • Majority attend distance courses
  • Some attend one year or two year on campus courses
  • “A substantial number of distance students reported feeling isolated, that they had insufficient support form course tutors or in the workplace”
  • For on campus students face to face contact with tutors and colleagues was highly valued
  • Lectures, seminars and workshops are mostly expert led and include innovative use of information
  • Recognition of the importance of considering theory and research with strong links between theory and current practice
  • Central importance of regional seminars, weekend workshops and on campus discussions
  • Courses are felt to offer good value for money
  • “Without more centrality in funding, it is difficult for the providers to plan ahead, to provide accessible programmes and to develop more control and stability to ensure training needs can be met in the future” (Ofsted report HMI 2297)

Full report available on the Ofsted website

Options for training?

  • NOT to replace but as additional routes
  • 4 models have been discussed
  • The DfES are open to workable new approaches
  • Group convened by NDCS includes RNID, BATOD and all English based courses
  • Want to seek the views of Heads of schools and services

What are we aiming for?

  • To change the profile to have main entry being 20’s
  • To have a mobile workforce to take up work across the country
  • To have ToDs who can practically apply the research to delivering high quality services for deaf children and their families
  • To promote an evaluative culture that demonstrates the value added component of a ToD
  • To promote high quality practitioners, to enforce high standards are enforced within training settings
  • To have research training within programmes to enable some to go onto undertake research within the field of deaf education
  • Opportunity to develop sufficiently high levels of communication skills eg in BSL
  • To raise standards of achievement
  • To train in anticipation of teaching deaf children rather than whilst teaching them***

Option 1

  • Cherry pick PGCE students
  • One year additional specialist training
  • Bursaries at national level
  • Possibly 2 days per week on MQ 2 days per week in provision and 1 day for study
  • Similar to Graduate teaching route
  • Recruitment of young highly motivated staff, academically able
  • Mobile workforce
  • Minority may choose to go into research and re-establish deaf education the research agenda
  • Campus based
  • Possibly winnable politically
  • Fast tracked into deaf education


  • QA issues *******
  • Funding stream needed for schools/services
  • May not get broad experience
  • Time for tutorial support, teaching and guidance may not easily be available
  • Use provision as training base with kite marked schools and services
  • Students undertake 2 month block placements 3x across year
  • He partnership
  • HE input September/January/June

Option 2

  • Move training predominantly to provision
  • High quality research led intensive on campus teaching 3-4 weeks
  • Workforce agreements as with BSC SaLT and Audiology
  • Close LEA partnerships
  • Distance learning gives flexibility***
  • Funding possible through SEN partnerships
  • Number in training related to need ***
  • Experienced teachers enter profession

Option 3

  • Promotes specialist in modality/age group/ specific learning needs
  • Uses model of PGCE with training in situ
  • FUNDING stream for schools services
  • QA issues
  • Problem of specialism may limit, lack breadth of experience
  • Less contact with other students
  • No research training
  • Working with deaf children prior to training_ peri work particularly challenging
  • Training moves to a specialist college within ? NDCS/RNID Course in validated by a University
  • DL learning with web based resources
  • Concentrates provision and resources
  • Ends uncertainty for HE
  • Virtual college
  • Opportunity for contact with other students
  • Train in advance of teaching deaf children
  • Funded bursaries through SEN partnerships
  • Reduces research with practical orientation and experience
  • Loss of HE input and courses
  • Capacity of RNID, NDCS BATOD to run a course?

Option 4

  • 4 year undergraduate training course
  • Combine with other undergrads Salt/audiology/education for some of teaching
  • Deaf education input
  • PGCE within deaf education
  • In depth training at undergraduate level
  • Some to go into research
  • Better interagency understanding within professions
  • Is it politically winnable given Govt agenda?
  • Major course proposal complex and may not be winnable @ university


  • Questions now ???

  • Batod has set up a working group chaired by Hilary Ward (BATOD Professional Development Committee) to consider ideas and to inform the BATOD NEC Steering Group members who will attend the inter-agency meeting in January.

    Comments and thoughts are welcome

  • Please email to Training issues fast response group by 10.01.05