Heart of Deafness - innovative learner-led deaf awareness raising

Image showing the Heart of Deafness logo

Who are we?<

Heart of Deafness is a new national learner-led community interest company that developed out of a Skills Funding Agency/LSISdefinition project.  

Heart of Deafness CIC - Company Number: 8617312                                                          

Why are we needed?<

New research into assessment procedures for deaf students<

Photo of Brian Kokoruwe taken at his degree graduation ceremony

Brian Kokoruwe’s research “Deaf students in the mainstream classroom- their experiences and the perspectives of the professionals that support them in the classroom” has concluded.

Brian’s research identified that deaf students’ viewpoints on the support they receive in the mainstream classroom environment differs from those of the professionals who support them.

Deaf students are often assigned multiple members of support staff in the mainstream classroom, but in many cases they feel that this support is excessive.  However, there are many cases where deaf students are under-supported.

This shows the  need for better assessment systems and procedures which can more accurately identify the individual needs of the deaf student.

Signature chief executive, Jim Edwards, said:

“We are delighted to see further research into the work of Education Communication Support Workers (ECSW). This, along with other work, helps to improve our understanding of the experience of deaf learners and the challenges of the ECSW role.”

We would like to congratulate Brian Kokoruwe, who is working alongside us on the NatSIP project, on his MA (Deaf Education) 

What we do - deaf awareness raising with a difference <

  • Deaf awareness training in BSL for hearing and deaf staff
  • Equalitydefinition and diversity training in BSL for hearing and deaf staff
  • Empowerment training to support ofther deaf learners/apprentices to develop the skills and confidence to particiapte in learner/apprentice voice activities
  • Quality assurance - mystery shopping, audit, reviews and road testing by deaf learners of websites, resources, reception, admission, interview, line management procedures, etc. 
  • Co-production of accessible new resources and adapting your existing resources to make them accessible to deaf BSL using learners/staff/stakeholders
  • Research/needs assessment
  • Consultancy 

    You can find several examples of our work on this website:

    • Our mystery shopping support to the Landex EDIFdefinition project
    • Our contributions to the Equalities consultation pop-up tour live debate in gateshead on 31 March 2014
    • Our analysis and recommendations report to the Education and Training Foundation, as one of the national network of equalities networks behond the Equalities Pop-up Consultation Tour, 2014.

    Want to discuss your ideas/needs? <

    Here's how to contact us:

    [make it feel safe, clear and easy for them. Don't try to trip them up by giving details of things many hearing people willknow little about, like minicom explain if they need to email text and how you will use that or if Louise is your first point of contact/only hearing member of the team say so and how they can contact her]

    What does it cost?<

    Give them some idea of possible costs and say you can offer off the shelf and bespoke services. 

    A bit of background: How we got started<

    In 2010/11 the Skills Funding Agency asked LSIS to develop and deliver a programme of work to identify existing effective practice, seek out, publicise and disseminate effective resources to support all staff, including BSL teachers, which promotes the voice of deaf learners through learner stories and hold a learner led event.

    LSIS has ceased but the outputs from the project can still be found on the Excellence Gateway via the links below

    The unique contribution of learner voice<

    In 2007 the then Learning and Skills Council (LSCdefinition) published guidance to support providers develop a learner involvement strategy. It was expected that by September of the same year all providers in receipt of LSC funding would have in place such a strategy.

    By taking into account the opinion of learners providers gain valuable insight into what their learners think of them and their performance. Acting on this feedback allows providers to have a more responsive ,more engaging, higher quality offer that empowers learners in shaping their own experience, and delivers improved outcomes for more learners, especially those who might otherwise not succeed."

    Consulting and involving learners needs to happen at all stages of the learner experience; from pre enrolment activity, target setting, assessment, to the day the learner leaves and beyond. Strategies to hear the learner voice are wide ranging, from focus groups and questionnaires through to learner representation panels and tutorial time.

    However any learner involvement strategy will need to be differentiated to take account of the range of learners who access the learning and skills sector, including deaf learners.

    The BSL project consulted and involved d/Deaf learners at every stage of the project, including planning, developing and delivering the BSL National Conference held in London in March 2011. The following resources were developed for the conference.

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