The Work of Ofsted - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD)

  1.  BATOD is the sole professional association of Teachers of the Deaf in the UK.

  2.  BATOD's members work in all sectors of education and are frequently involved in inspections where deaf children are concerned.

  3.  BATOD has had a long history of close cooperation and regular meetings with Ofsted. This has become more difficult as a named person with responsibility for sensory impairment was for a number of years not identified.

  4.  We are currently finding it difficult to maintain good links with Ofsted.

  5.  We have provided and are currently revising a number of documents to support the work of Ofsted inspectors when they are inspecting provision where there are deaf children and young people. These are attached.

  6.  In particular we are concerned that in many cases significant judgements about the provision for deaf children and young people are being made by inspectors with no knowledge, understanding or skills in this aspect of education.

  7.  Furthermore it sometimes seems that the standard and quality of evidence used to make such judgements is not as robust as is the case with other aspects of inspection. This applies to both negative and positive statements.

  8.  We strongly recommend that—as is usually the case for the small number of schools for deaf children—an inspector is included on the team with knowledge and expertise in this area where schools under inspection have units or resource bases for deaf children and young people.

  9.  In order to assist and support inspectors with or without such experience we have drawn up a number of questions which we feel should be considered and posed by inspectors in schools when inspecting provision where some of the children or young people are deaf. If Ofsted feels that deaf awareness training is needed, BATOD would be willing to help.

April 2008

Annex A



    (a) Basic information about the facility should be available, eg type of provision for deaf children—mainstream school/nursery, special school/nursery (not for deaf children), mainstream school/nursery, unit or resource base, numbers of deaf children, special staffing (qualified Teachers of the Deaf [ToDs], Teaching Assistants [TAs], Communication Support Workers [CSWs].

    (b) Who decides where deaf children are placed, eg local school, unit?


    (a) How is the facility managed, eg Does the Head of School or the Head of the Specialist Service have management responsibilities for the ToDs?

    (b) Is the facility a delegated unit/resource base?

    (c) Who is responsible for the appointments of ToDs, TAs, CSWs? Who undertakes the interviews? Are support staff expected to have additional training and skills?

    (d) Who decides on the level of support which the deaf child needs?

    (e) What are the administration arrangements?

    (f) Who has the responsibility for the maintenance and development of the facilities for deaf children?

    (g) How is Performance Management (PM) undertaken? Who appraises or monitors the work of the ToD(s)? Does the person have any knowledge of deaf education?

    (h) Is there a written School—Service agreement?

    (i) Within schools with a unit/resource base facility are there clear definitions of roles and responsibilities?

    (j) Do such units/resource bases have representation on the school's Governing Body?

    (k) Who decides on the allocation of funds for deaf children, eg for the TAs/CSWs, equipment? How are the use of such funds monitored?

    (l) Who decides on where deaf children receive their education, eg in a mainstream class, within a unit, in other withdrawal settings?

    (m) Is opportunity given for liaison between mainstream teachers, ToDs, TAs/CSWs?

    (n) Who has responsibility for liaison with parents—ToDs or mainstream teachers?

    (o) Who liaises with outside agencies, eg Health Trusts, Social Services, Connexions, Educational Psychology Services—ToDs or mainstream teachers?

    (p) Who has the responsibility for arranging and conducting Annual Reviews, and formulating Transition Plans and IEPs (Individual Education Plan)?


    (a) Who decides on what is taught? Is there provision for specialist teaching in listening, signing, language development, articulation, social skills?

    (b) Who decides on the form of communication used in the facility?

    (c) Where deaf children are withdrawn are they engaging in activities as in "a" above, or are they being prepared for mainstream lessons, or having follow ups to mainstream sessions? Who undertakes this withdrawal work—TAs, ToDs?

    (d) If withdrawn from mainstream lessons which subjects are the deaf students missing? Who decides on the level of mainstreaming/inclusion?

    (e) How is progress recorded and analysed? Who has the responsibility for this? Are the assessments appropriate for the level of development of the deaf child?

    (f) Who decides on which forms of accreditation deaf children undertake?

    (g) Who has responsibility for disapplication from, or moderation of, examination papers?


    (a) Who provides the training for TAs/CSWs?

    (b) Is Deaf Awareness Training part of mainstream staff's INSET programme?

    (c) If "sign" is used within the school, are there opportunities for mainstream staff and other pupils to learn how to use this form of communication?

    (d) Is an induction programme in place for new staff (both mainstream teachers and specialist staff)?

    (e) If an unqualified ToD is appointed are there funds available for mandatory qualification training?

    (f) Do the ToD(s) have the opportunity and funding to undertake appropriate and relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

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