Information | 25.08.2020 | By Paul Simpson

History of adept

Origins – NATED

The National Association for Tertiary Education for the Deaf

In 1976 a small group of Teachers of the Deaf working as individuals in colleges were invited by Peter Greenwood to meet in Bradford to share experiences and professional support. They began by collating examination arrangements for Deaf students.

The group decided to hold a bigger, regional meeting to include more people and this took place in Sheffield in 1977. It led to a national meeting and the National Study Group in Further Education for the Hearing Impaired was established, with Joyce Sutton as the first Chair.

The group became NATED in 1984, and founder members, besides Peter Greenwood and Joyce Sutton, included Mike Hanson, Joe Pearce and John Hatton. Sadly Peter Greenwood died in the Bradford City Football Stadium fire in 1985, and Joe Pearce died at the grand old age of 90.

This group was responsible for all the early work with examination boards in negotiating examination arrangements. They promoted the need for clear communication and language modification and developed the ‘Language of Examinations’ booklet.

The aims of NATED

NATED  has over the years promoted good practice and quality support services for Deaf learners in tertiary education. It has provide training and networking, and advice and guidance for all professionals working with Deaf learners.

It has worked with other agencies and bodies to ensure that their policies and procedures promote fair assessment and opportunities for all Deaf learners.NATED has produced publications to encourage good practice, such as appropriate assessment procedures, support provision, updating of policies and highlighting current topics of concern, and crucially, has written and developed the Code of Practice for CSWs. This can be found at: CSW Code of Practice link.

NATED has assisted the development of effective transition into and beyond further education, and has been involved in developing training courses and resources for professionals working with Deaf learners in tertiary education across the UK.

NATED achievements

Over the years NATED has worked:

  • to raise awareness about Deafness, developing information packs for lecturers
  • to support Deaf students entering FE (further education) – there was a pack for FE students also
  • to establish communication support workers, originally for YTS (Youth Training Scheme) trainees
  • to develop materials for the assessment for support needs
  • to provide information and networking opportunities for people interested in the further and higher education of Deaf students
  • to contribute to government consultations advising administrations of the implications for supporting Deaf learners
  • to liaise with groups and associations to promote opportunities and facilitate access to FE and HE (Higher Education) for Deaf learners
  • to work with examining bodies in the development of professional qualifications.

NATED hosted an online forum.

Origins – ACSW

The Association of Communication Support Workers

ACSW, constituted in 2006, was a national association for communication support workers (CSWs) working with Deaf learners of all ages, levels and ability using the individual’s preferred method of communication. ACSW supported some CSWs employed in roles outside education but the available qualifications focused on education only.

Photo: The original ACSW committee, left to right: Andy Owen, Vicky Nunn, Mary Black and Liana Lloyd.

ACSW supported and represented the interests and views of CSWs and their Deaf users by encouraging good practice, aiming to improve the training standards and opportunities for current and future CSWs and providing a network for CSWs and Deaf users to exchange information, views and ideas.

ACSW was also set up to gain recognition for the role and work undertaken by thousands of CSWs in the UK, and has worked with other organisations to improve training, recognition and to tackle policies.

ACSW also promoted continuous professional development and offered informal training opportunities for members and non-members. Training held by various organisations, together with job opportunities was advertised on the ACSW online forum. This forum is viewable as a legacy resource at: ACSW Forum link.

Members of the ACSW committee were able to represent CSWs at national consultative level and were involved in amending regulations for the benefit of CSWs nationally and the Deaf learners they work with.

ADEPT – A collaboration between NATED & ACSW

The ACSW and NATED committees collaborated over a number of years, the first joint venture being an event in 2008 to train CSWs how to work with Deaf candidates in examinations.

The first formal collaboration was when committees jointly hosted their conference in June 2010 at Greenwich University. Joint conferences then became annual events.

Over time, although NATED existed for professionals working in tertiary education, whereas ACSW existed for CSWs working at any key stage and elsewhere, it transpired that because the focus for both was the education of Deaf learners, collaboration was a natural, regular occurrence.

It turned out that NATED committee meetings were attended by ACSW committee members and vice versa, so it seemed that both organisations were destined to converge, especially as the changing world of Deaf education required a fresh initiative. The convergence was formally welded in Derby at the 2014 conference, where Adept was launched. Adept is therefore an organisation braced and equipped to face the challenges of the future with a broader remit and a wider range of professionals.

For research purposes, a detailed account of the journey of both organisations, a description of the role of CSWs and the history of developments prior to and since the inception of the CSW role can be found in: ‘History of CSWs’ (2012) by Maria Bailey and Andrew Owen, Talk with Sign Books Ltd: http://www.talkwithsign.com