< Back to blog

Highland Deaf Education Service scoops national award for its dedication to supporting children and young people with SEN

Posted in News

Congratulations to the Highland Deaf Education Service

Press release from nasen

“Highland Deaf Education Service has won the Innovation in the Field of Inclusion award at nasen’s seventh annual Awards. They were recognised for their outstanding work in supporting deaf children to reach their full potential, whilst providing their peers with the opportunity to learn British Sign Language.

The inspiring ceremony, held at the Grand Hotel Birmingham on Friday (6th October 2023), was hosted by nasen – the National Association for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – and supported by official media sponsors, tes. nasen is a charitable membership organisation that exists to support and champion those working with, and for, children and young people with SEND and learning differences.

The Highland Deaf Education Service, located in the North of Scotland was in the spotlight for their Digital British Sign Language (BSL) Pack, a unique BSL curriculum consisting of lesson plans, video clips, activities and games, all stored on a USB stick so non-signing teachers can deliver a fun and inclusive learning experience for deaf and hearing children.

Taking a fresh approach to the delivery of BSL training, the Highland Deaf Education Service decided to bring about change with technology at the core – a mass roll out of a low cost BSL training programme. With no other resource available on the market which looks at both BSL in its entirety and at teaching hearing children to sign whilst allowing teachers to successfully learn alongside them, their new digital pack has been a huge success. This new concept has been shown to be enjoyable and fun for all involved, allowing teachers to feel empowered and confident in their ability to deliver a BSL curriculum.

The pack aligns with the Scottish Government’s 1+2 Languages initiative to improve Scotland’s language learning in schools and has been purchased by every local authority in Scotland!

15 other schools, individuals and organisation were recognised alongside Highland Deaf Education Service, judged by a panel of leading professionals with a wealth of experience in education and Additional Needs– as well as individuals with lived experience.

Speaking of their win, Sheila Lundberg, Co-ordinator of the Highland Deaf Education Service said: “Highland Deaf Education Service has been pushing forward the BSL agenda for over 30 years. We are absolutely delighted that our BSL pack has been recognised on the National stage by nasen and we are incredibly proud to be the first winners of the Innovation in the Field of Inclusion Award.”

Chief Executive of nasen, Annamarie Hassall MBE said: “Highland Deaf Education Service should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. We received the greatest number of nominations this year, telling stories of inspiring services, along with schools, colleges, settings and individuals that are working together to make a difference for children and young people.

“All our winners, and those nominated, are true role models, shaping practice in their setting, whilst leading and inspiring others. They exemplify what is making a difference for learners with SEND and most of all, for inclusion.”

nasen’s 2023 Award winners include:

Award Winner
Alternative Provision of the Year Award, sponsored by Sensational Tutors Chadsgrove School Support Services, Bromsgrove
Changemaker of the Year, sponsored by Rockerbox News Hannah Walton, One/Third Project, West Midlands
Co-production Initiative of the Year, sponsored by The Seashell Trust Emily Rushton and BHJS Neurodiversity Champions, Bromley
Early Years Provision of the Year, sponsored by Nursery World University of Bradford, Bradford
Further Education (FE) Provision, sponsored by Seashell Trust Derwen College, Derwen, Shropshire
Innovation in the Field of Inclusion, sponsored by Concero Highland Deaf Education Services, Scotland
The International Provision of the Year Award, sponsored by IDL Neurodiversity at Work Research Centre, Thailand
Leader or Leadership Team of the Year Award, sponsored by National Education Union Andrew Poole, Everton Free School, Liverpool
Primary Provision of the Year, sponsored by Axcis Education Sir Alex Fleming Primary School, Telford
Secondary Provision of the Year, sponsored by Secondary Language Link The Ruth Gorse Academy, Leeds
Specialist Provision of the Year, sponsored by The Edwin Group NHS England Choices College, Yorkshire
Support Practitioner of the Year, sponsored by Whole School SEND Rob Carroll, Barnet and Southgate College, Barnet
Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by Scanning Pens Gary Whall, formerly of Bristnall Hall Academy, Oldbury, Sandwell
The David Ryan Award for Positive Media Impact– in honour of late nasen trustee, David Ryan, sponsored by nasen Connect Georgina Durrant, Author and Podcaster, Cheshire
Young Advocate of the Year (aged 16 and under), sponsored by Cosmo by Filisia Finn Anderson-Hendra, Dwight School, London
Young Advocate of the Year (aged 17 and over), sponsored by Christie and Co Maham Butt, Hopwood Hall College, Manchester


For more information on the nasen Awards, and to find out more about the winners, visit: www.nasen.org.uk/awards or follow #nasenAwards2023″