Below are some tips, which have come from recent DPDC Workshops. More tips will be added as we go on, so watch this space!
Access to after school clubs
A parent mentioned that he had managed to get Inclusion Funding (Aiming High) for his children so they could have an interpreter at after school clubs. However, after talking to the NDCS it emerges that this is only offered in some boroughs and that it may be cut this year. We will update you with information regarding this.
Currently most deaf children are supported by Communication Support Workers (CSW) who have Level 1 or Level 2 in BSL.The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has a ‘Work Capability Assessment’ (WCA) which assesses if a person is capable of working.
One part focuses on communication skills. If a person cannot read / write / speak clearly, DWP will accept the person is illiterate, and not capable of working, and will award incapacity benefits. This was recently changed to include BSL.
The new criteria is if a person cannot do any of: read / write / speak clearly / sign to level 3 BSL, and then they are not capable of working. So DWP are formally classifying people with less than level 3 BSL as being sign illiterate.
The relevance to education is that many schools are using CSWs with level 2 BSL to ‘interpret’ for the children. But under DWP regulations, these CSWs are sign illiterate.
Schools wouldn’t hire staff who can’t read or write, so why are they hiring sign illiterate CSWs to deliver education to deaf children?
NDCS are already campaigning on this; we will work with them to make sure this is changed.
Reference: http://www.harc-online.org.uk/Docs/Updates/Work_Capability_Assessment_(WCA)_Factsheet%5B1%5D.pdf – See page 14
Use a deaf person instead of a Communication Support Worker
A parent also mentioned how there is now a different method used by mainstream schools with deaf children in the North of England. Instead of using a hearing CSW who has Level 1 or Level 2 in BSL which is wholly inadequate, the school recruits a native BSL using deaf CSW. The deaf CSW uses a qualified hearing BSL interpreter through Access to Work (AtW) which all deaf adults have a right to have as part of a Government scheme enabling the deaf CSW to understand the teacher. This means that the deaf child not only has full access to their education through the highest level of BSL possible, but also to have a deaf role model to look up to.
SEN Statement template
One parent had a good suggestion that you could put down in the child’s statement, specifically, to have a Level 6 interpreter, and also to put down that your child will require an interpreter for Breakfast Clubs and Homework Clubs.
We intend to create a SEN statement template, complete with advice and explanations, this will be published on this website for all to see.