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

The Henry Winkler Award for Special Needs

The Teaching Awards

Paul Simpson, BATOD Executive Officer entered into discussion with Jurgita Bukauskaite-Mendeliene (Operations manager, The Teaching Awards) as BATOD wondered how Teachers of the Deaf and other colleagues in peripatetic services could become eligible for the award as they didn't appear to fit the school-based criteria.

Point made
Please confirm that the teachers who work in many specialist support services in local authorities who support children with a range of Special Educational Needs and disabilities - such as deafness - are also eligible for this award. It would be very disappointing and unfair if teams of such dedicated teachers who are responsible for the successful inclusion of many children in schools across the country are not eligible for this award. Is seems that the Teaching Awards might be unaware of the existence and role of these teachers.

Only special needs teachers within schools are eligible for the Teacher of the Year in a Primary or Secondary School Award. We do appreciate that the specialist support services are vitally important, but the teachers have to be teaching at school, as part of the judging process includes observing teachers in a classroom environment.

Point made
Can you please tell me what The Teaching Awards does to encourage these, as you rightly say, vitally important specialist teachers?

I can very much understand your passion for encouraging these important workers and the resulting disappointment that the reach of the Teaching Awards is currently limited to celebrating those in schools only. Perhaps one day we will be able to have a further impact than just within schools, but the current structure does not allow for this. I have passed your concerns on to the Operations Director for future consideration. At the moment we are a very small team so large changes like this would probably take a considerable amount of time to implement.

Point made
These teachers of course do work within schools most of the time. It is just that they are not limited to one school and support a range of children in a range of schools.

However it is a matter of regret that these teachers are not covered by the teaching awards and there are many thousands of them. They are teachers and should be able to qualify for these prestigious and highly regarded awards.

I am sure that BATOD would be keen to be involved in any discussions about how to extend these awards to include these teachers if that were felt to be helpful. It would not be an insurmountable difficulty.

In that case, these teachers can be nominated for The Teaching Award, but the nominator has to select one of the schools the nominee works at as the endorsement has to be done by the headteacher of the school.

In the endorsement they can provide additional information and the names of the other schools the nominee works at. Judges then will select a school where the judging visit will take place and they will be able to see the nominee in the classroom environment.

Point made
BATOD hopes that there will be services and schools that will consider the work done by Teachers of the Deaf and other colleagues in peripatetic services worthy of nomination to The Teaching Awards and looks forward to sharing information about nominations with BATOD members.