Training as a Teacher of the Deaf
This page gives a brief description of the work that Teachers of the Deaf do, then describes the qualifications needed and how to obtain them.
Any degree of deafness may cause significant educational and social problems. Children who are born severely or profoundly deaf need skilled teaching to develop language and communication skills (including speech and sign language as appropriate). Many children whose deafness is less severe also need special support. Teaching deaf children is stimulating and rewarding, and is made more so by continuing developments:
- earlier and more accurate detection of hearing loss
- greater understanding of language development
- changing attitudes to the use of sign language
- provision of more advanced hearing aids and cochlear implants
- more informative and detailed assessment procedures.
Teaching deaf children offers a wide range of work opportunities in a number of different types of educational setting. It is challenging and stimulating work that invites initiative and gives teachers the chance to develop innovative patterns of classroom practice.
Where are deaf children educated?
Most deaf children attend mainstream schools. Some of these schools have resource bases (or units) led by qualified Teachers of the Deaf. A smaller number of children are taught in special schools some of which offer residential provision. It is a requirement that pupils in these schools and resource bases are taught by appropriately qualified specialist Teachers of the Deaf and that they obtain this qualification within three years of beginning their work with deaf pupils.
Peripatetic (or advisory) Teachers of the Deaf work for local education authority advisory and support services for deaf pupils. They support deaf children who are integrated into mainstream and special schools on an individual basis. An important part of their work is collaboration with mainstream classroom teachers who teach deaf pupils from day to day, and the management of support provided by teaching assistants (TAs) or CSWs (Communication Support Workers) who often accompany deaf pupils in lessons. Peripatetic teachers also visit parents of very young children at home to advise about the children's development and to work with them as appropriate. They also support deaf children with other disabilities. The Government expects that these teachers also obtain the qualification.
Teachers of the Deaf may also work as part of a team in hospitals or health centres, concentrating on audiological and advisory services, particularly in the early years. Children who have cochlear implants are supported by a team of professionals including Teachers of the Deaf, Speech and Language Therapists and Audiological Scientists. Some Teachers of the Deaf specialise in Further and/or Higher Education.
How to qualify
If you are thinking of becoming a Teacher of the Deaf, it is useful to arrange a visit to a special school or resource base (or unit) for deaf pupils. Local Authorities' (LA) heads of service for deaf children can give you information about these. In order to train as teachers of deaf pupils in schools or services, teachers must have qualified teacher status (QTS) and have had some classroom experience before undertaking a Teacher of the Deaf training course. All teachers of deaf children must have special training and qualifications.
There are several ways of achieving QTS. For more information visit the DfE website.
Deaf children have an entitlement to be taught by teachers who are effective and competent.The trainee Teacher of the Deaf should usually be:
- a qualified teacher who is effective and competent
- an effective spoken language communicator with clear lip patterns
and should have:
- met a range of deaf adults and children before training
- a positive attitude towards deaf people
- a commitment to acquire basic sign language skills to Signature level 1 or equivalent.
The trainee Teacher of the Deaf should also have:
- high expectations of and respect for all deaf learners as individuals
- a balanced and informed attitude towards the range of communication approaches used in the education of deaf learners
- a recognition of the individual needs, cultural and ethnic backgrounds of deaf learners and their families
- a positive attitude towards working in partnership with parents.
Becoming a qualified Teacher of Deaf Children
After achieving QTS, teachers usually need to gain some teaching experience before applying to undertake a Diploma/Certificate course in teaching deaf children. However, any experience gained with deaf children, such as voluntary work, will support the application. It is possible to be teaching deaf pupils while gaining the necessary experience, provided such teachers are being supervised by a qualified Teacher of the Deaf.
Entry requirements for individual institutions will vary. Please contact the University directly for further information. Details about the individual courses are listed below.
One-year full-time and two-year part-time courses are offered for people who want to train as Teachers of the Deaf. Details of these are given below.
Teachers in England and Wales should ask the LA or school in which they work for support in taking a full-time training course. Such teachers may have their tuition paid for by their employers. However this is becoming more and more unusual as the great majority of teachers in training as Teachers of the Deaf are following part-time in-service training courses whilst working with deaf children. These courses are usually financed by schools and services.
Teachers in Scotland who wish to become Teachers of the Deaf may also apply for these one-year courses. For information about financial help, contact the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (Tel: 0131 476 8212).
Teachers in England can apply annually to the DfE National Scholarship Fund which can provide some financial support.
Furthermore, BATOD, on behalf of the Ovingdean Hall Foundation is adminstering the Con Powell Scholarship to provide bursaries for teachers wishing to train but whose LA or school is not obliged to support financially.
Con Powell was BATOD's first President.
There will be up to five scholarships awarded every year. Applicants will have to show evidence of Qualified Teacher Status, details of their chosen course provider, information about their current employment, a personal statement highlighting why they wish to undertake this training, proof that their local authority or school is not obliged to fund their training and evidence that they have tried to obtain funding elsewhere. Finally they need to provide two referees.
The Foundation will require that any successful candidate is a member of the professional organisation for Teachers of the Deaf, BATOD.
Click here to download the Con Powell Scholarship application form
Several organisations offer independent financial assistance to students who are self-financing. Details may be found in 'The Educational Grants Directory' by Michael Eastwood and David Casson, published by the Directory of Social Change. This is available in most public libraries and will be useful for those who are trying to obtain financial support.
You can also find some information here:
Deaf people who have the relevant qualifications are encouraged to apply to train as Teachers of the Deaf. Their contribution to the education of deaf children is particularly valuable. They should discuss their application and support needs for study with the University to which they are applying. The earlier this is done, the better.
The full list of courses available in England, Scotland and Wales is as follows:
Full time courses
- The University of Manchester
The University of Manchester awards the University Post Graduate Diploma in Deaf Education. This requires one or two years on campus or two years distance learning. For details send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The University of Birmingham
The School of Education offers a two-year programme of study by distance education, leading to BPhil (Ed) or Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Special Education - Hearing Impairment). The programme is open to qualified teachers, normally with not less than two years' teaching experience. Students who successfully complete the work for the Postgraduate Diploma may then progress to MEd.
Applications are also invited from students who are not qualified to teach children but who are working with deaf pupils/students (CSWs, Tutors supporting deaf pupils in FE etc). These students are entitled to study for the University award (BPhil or PG Diploma) but do not normally undertake the assessed practical element of the programme and are not eligible to obtain qualified Teacher of the Deaf status.
Details from: The Receptionist, School of Education, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT.
Tel: 0121 414 7168; Enquiries to Linda Watson Tel:0121 414 4876, email: L.M.Watson@bham.ac.uk
- The University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh offers a part-time modular programme leading to the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Additional Support for Learning (Deaf Education) or Masters (MEd). The Diploma programme normally takes two years and consists of six courses. One of these courses is a placement which takes place in the teacher's own workplace (4 weeks) and in another setting with deaf learners (3 weeks). Those who successfully complete the Diploma can progress to the MEd, which can take an additional one or two years. Further details from The Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ. Contact the course tutor, Rachel O'Neill, for more details. Tel: 07961661788 or email@example.com website: www.ed.ac.uk
- The University of Leeds
The School of Education offers an MA in Deaf Education with Teacher of the Deaf status. This is a part-time distance learning programme (24 or 30 months) for qualified UK teachers wishing to gain the mandatory ToD qualification. This distance programme uses a range of current technologies to blend on-line learning with face-to-face day and residential sessions and regional tutorial support. The programme provides teachers with the essential and specialist knowledge, skills and experience needed to work across the full range of educational settings that a Teacher of the Deaf is likely to encounter and addresses the fundamental issues of language development, communication, achievement and good practice in the education of deaf children. Participants are expected to gain a high level of expert knowledge and understanding and also to develop crucial intellectual abilities such as reflection, critical analysis and the development of professional relationships which are considered to be essential professional qualities.
NEW Deaf Education (Teacher of the Deaf) Study Bursaries
From September 2014, new bursaries are available for UK Deaf Education schools/services funding more than one student per school/service in a single year to the part-time MA Deaf Education (TOD) programme.
For schools/services funding two students to start the programme in September 2014, a 5% bursary towards the part-time Deaf Education programme tuition fee per student per year will be applied.
For schools/services sending more than two students to start the programme in September 2014, a 10% bursary towards the part-time Deaf Education programme tuition fee per student per year will be applied.
NB Schools/services already receiving DfE National Scholarship funding are not eligible for this scheme.
How to apply for a Deaf Education bursary
You will be automatically considered for a School of Education scholarship if ...
- you fulfil the entry requirements of the MA programme
- you have enclosed a covering letter from your Head of School or Service indicating that your application is one of two or more from the same school or service.
- Conditions of the award
Receipt of the scholarship is conditional upon you commencing your period of study by registering no later than 1 October in the academic year for which the award is offered. Scholarships cannot be deferred to a later year. Where places are offered to applicants who meet the criteria for this scheme notification will be sent to the Head of School or Service at the point of acceptance of the students on to the programe.
Details from Dr Ruth Swanwick, Senior Lecturer in Deaf Education, School of Education, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT. Tel: 0113 343 4582 (direct line, voice and text) email: R.A.Swanwick@education.leeds.ac.uk
- The University of Manchester
The University of Manchester awards the University Post Graduate Diploma in Deaf Education. This course may also be available in distance learning mode. The University also offers an MSc in Deaf Education. It also offers a two-year distance course for teachers and other professionals who work with children or adults who are sensory impaired and have severe or profound learning difficulties. The course is offered at Advanced Diploma and Masters Level. A certificate course is also available for parents and carers. The University also has a distance learning course for an M Ed (Hearing Impairment). This is for qualified Teachers of the Deaf who wish to undertake further studies. The course units may be taken free standing or as part of the M.Ed. New modules include: developing infant 0-2 years;early audiological management; working with families and other professionals. These have been developed specifically to meet the new challenge resulting from the introduction of Newborn Hearing Screening. The university will also be running single modules that will update ToDs eg on Audiological Management.
Details by email from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mary Hare School in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire
Mary Hare School, in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, offers a PG Dip/MA Educational Studies (Hearing Impairment).
The Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Studies (Hearing Impairment) is recognised as leading to the mandatory qualification for Teachers of the Deaf, approved by the Department for Education (DfE). This qualification enables candidates to work with children and young people who are deaf from 0-19 years. Students who continue beyond this award qualify for an MA in Educational Studies (Hearing Impairment), which delivers not only the competencies linked to the mandatory qualification but also extension competencies. The MA is awarded following the successful completion of the postgraduate diploma modules and a dissertation.
The Postgraduate Diploma has a four module structure taught over two years of study. The course consists of 6 residential study weekends per year with additional online resources and regular contact with tutors to support learning. Students uniquely have access to observation and research opportunities within Mary Hare School during their period of study. The course is staffed by experienced practitioners in the fields of education of the deaf and related disciplines.
- Module 1: Impact of hearing loss on language and listening – 30 credits
- Module 2: Issues in Access and Inclusion - 30 credits
- Module 3: Extending language, listening and literacy skills - 30 credits
- Module 4: Securing outcomes through effective professional practice - 30 credits
- Module 5: Research Methods and Dissertation - 60 credits
To satisfy the requirements for the mandatory qualification as a Teacher of the Deaf, all students undertake an assessed practical experience component in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course of study. In Year 1 the practical experience component forms part of Module 2: Issues in Access and Inclusion. Students undertake a 3 week placement in a provision new to them, where they are required to work with pupils from a different age range to their current experience in an establishment outside their own local authority. In Year 2 practical experience forms part of Module 3: Securing Outcomes through Professional Practice. Students undertake a 5 week placement in their current place of work, provided they currently work with children and young people who are deaf. In addition students who have not experienced a peripatetic role in either placement undertake a 5 day placement with a local support service or another setting which they have not yet experienced. Students are fully supported during their placement by a supervisor from or appointed by the Mary Hare Training Services.
Candidates must hold qualified teaching status (QTS) and possess a valid CRB or DBS certificate. For those not currently working with pupils who are deaf, individual arrangements will be made to provide opportunities for further teaching experience with such pupils.
All applicants must have two references including one from their current employer.
The current employer must be prepared to support their employee as a postgraduate student by providing study leave and funding (as appropriate).
Total cost per annum for a diploma is £3,210 which includes residential fees. The dissertation module is an additional £1,875 which includes residential fees for one night.
For further information please visit the Mary Hare website or contact email@example.com
- The University of South Wales, Newport
This is a 2-5 year part-time course meeting usually weekly after school. There is currently no residential component. The course leads to MA Special Educational Needs (Hearing Impairment).
Details from: The University Information Centre, University of South Wales, PO Box 101, Newport NO18 3YH Tel: 01633 432432; Fax: 01633 432850.