I hope everyone is keeping safe and well. We continue to find ourselves in unusual times and each day brings new information for us all to process. Now, more than ever, our aim is to bring BATOD members together across the regions and nations of the UK. The rules of lockdown have been disparate and each nation is having to constantly adapt to new ways of working. In England, colleagues are preparing for a phased return to school from next week and for Scotland in August. We await news for Wales and Northern Ireland. For those working in peripatetic roles, the uncertainty about being able to provide face to face teaching and support for deaf children and their families remains unclear.
As you know, BATOD is made up of volunteers and two paid employees making up 1.1 full time equivalent. At this time I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who gives up their time in support of BATOD, in the many roles that exist, to keep it running to support the Teacher of the Deaf profession. So many members, 438 to be exact, have also recently given up their time to respond to the survey into the impact of Covid-19. Every single word of those responses has been read by Steering Group and I wanted to first of all say thank you for taking the time to respond and secondly to let you know what BATOD is planning to do with that information.
The impact on deaf children and young people and their families, the QToD profession and allied colleagues will be shared through BATOD’s response to the Education Select Committee. A further report, outlining the key findings from the survey, is in the process of being written which will be shared with BATOD members, our partners such as the NDCS and NatSIP, and other relevant organisations to ensure the importance of ensuring that the QToD role is not forgotten when planning for the future, post Covid-19. Alongside this will be an action plan showing how BATOD will be putting into place the suggestions put forward from the survey.
As each member of Steering Group read the survey responses, the positivity, worry, innovation and emotion were palpable. So many stories and experiences were shared. BATOD is here for its members and if you have anything additional to share or would like some support, please do reach out to BATOD. If anyone is willing to share a case study, please do contact me at [email protected]
Unity was an underlying theme across all responses and at the next NEC meeting in June, to be held virtually, there will be a working group looking at how BATOD national and BATOD regions and nations can continue to work together and share ideas, resources and CPD as well as support each other and stay connected. If you have any requests, thoughts or suggestions, please do contact us or your regional committee in advance of June 20th.
More immediately, from June 1, some children will be returning to schools in England. With this is mind, many of you have been asking about the practicalities of how QToDs will be able to carry out face to face working or advising families and mainstream colleagues. We need to know the following when planning for day to day work with deaf CYP – how the virus is transmitted, the different levels of PPE and what they are needed for, what good hygiene looks like in practice, and how equipment for audiology checks is used and stored.
Knowing these things will help you make your own decisions about what your service is able to support with and advice to give to education settings. Many QToDs have questions about carrying out checks of audiology equipment. BATOD is not putting forwards specific responses; however, we will develop a FAQs area on the BATOD website. Please do also refer to the guidance provided by the Assistive Listening Technology Working Group – https://www.batod.org.uk/uk-assistive-listening-technology-working-group-and-batod-joint-advice/. If you have any additional questions, please do contact Stuart Whyte, BATOD Consultant and Chair of the Assistive Listening Technology Working Group at [email protected]
Wishing you all a safe summer and thanking you for your continued input and support.
Steph Halder, BATOD President 2020