Specialist Deaf Curriculum Framework

Specialist Deaf Curriculum Framework: Supporting deaf children and young people’s independence

Download the Specialist Deaf Curriculum Framework quick overview document via this link.

What is the specialist deaf curriculum framework?

The specialist deaf curriculum framework has been written to support deaf babies, children, young people, and their families to develop knowledge and make informed and independent decisions about their deafness, from identification through to adulthood.

It can support them to:

  • understand and make decisions about their deafness
  • develop the necessary social, pragmatic, and academic communication and language skills in their preferred communication style
  • develop confidence in their ability to self-advocate and to self-determine
  • create a positive sense of self and deaf identity
  • manage change and have the skills needed for adulthood.

How will it be used?

There are three key aims of the resource:

  • to identify areas of specialist support and good practice that can improve independence and outcomes for deaf children and young people (DCYP)and their families
  • to raise awareness of deafness and the needs of DCYP and their families from identification through to adulthood with those who are new or unfamiliar with deafness
  • to enable discussion with and a shared language about deafness between deaf children and young people, their families, their schools and settings, and Qualified Teachers of Deaf Children and Young People (QToDs) and the other professionals who work with them.

Who will use it?

This curriculum framework is a UK-wide resource for specialists in deafness such as QToDs and educational audiologists. It can also be used by DCYP, their families, education settings, and the other professionals who support them. The resource is designed to cover the breadth of work of the QToD/ToD however, the focus may vary depending on where the QToD works, eg school for DCYP, specialist provision, in a peripatetic role, etc.

How did we choose which areas to include?

Core areas have been identified by QToDs and other professionals who support DCYP and their families. They comprise the elements that should be considered when supporting DCYP from identification to 25 years of age.

How is the specialist curriculum structured?

A hub and spoke model illustrate the seven core areas.

Each area consists of:

  • outcomes based on what we know works
  • suggestions for interventions and good practice
  • signposting to resources that could support you.

How are resources selected to be included and how will they be monitored?

Resources selected will:

  • have a clear purpose
  • be inclusive, accessible, well presented and appealing
  • be based on credible educational approaches and current research.

A panel of QToDs will review submissions from the profession. Every three years, the resources will be reviewed and either kept in place or removed as appropriate. We would welcome suggestions for resources.

How will it fit in with the mainstream curriculum?

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the huge amount of excellent curricular work that is carried out for DCYP by their mainstream teachers, and it is hoped that this description of a specifically deaf-oriented specialist curriculum will be used to inform and help joint working in this area.




The curriculum was developed by a working group with the following members:

  • Caroline Chettleburgh, QToD, Sheffield Service for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children
  • Suzanne Churcher, QToD, Sensory and Communication Support Service, Torfaen, Wales
  • Emma Fraser, QToD, National Deaf Children’s Society
  • Steph Halder, QToD, University College London Hospitals and BATOD
  • Martin McLean, Senior Policy Advisor, National Deaf Children’s Society
  • Conor Mervyn, QToD, Education Authority Northern Ireland
  • Teresa Quail, QToD and Educational Audiologist, BATOD
  • Tina Wakefield, QToD, Consultant for the National Deaf Children’s Society
  • Susan Winn, QToD and Educational Audiologist, Rotherham Hearing Impairment Team

(Roles correct as of start of project)

This project began in February 2021 as an initiative from a NatSIP training event, and has been jointly funded and steered by BATOD and the NDCS.

Download the Specialist Deaf Curriculum Framework quick overview document via this link.

A note about terms

We use the term ‘deaf’ to refer to all types and levels of hearing, from mild to profound. This includes deafness in one ear or temporary hearing loss such as glue ear. We include learners in schools and settings who may identify as having a ‘hearing impairment’ in the school census.

The term ‘language’ should be taken to refer to spoken language, British Sign Language or Irish Sign Language (in Northern Ireland).

QToD refers to teachers of DCYP who have successfully completed the mandatory qualification. ToD refers to those who are currently training.

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