The Education Partnership Group met with Representatives of NCSE in September 2012 in Deaf Village Ireland

Coordinator of the Centre for Deaf Education

The Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIDP) recruited Elizabeth Mathews as the Coordinator for a new Centre for Deaf Education. Elizabeth is located in the Marian buildings on the Rathoath road, Cabra, Dublin 7. The Centre is managed by the Education Partnership group comprising (CIDP,, the Irish Deaf Society, and the Centre for Deaf Studies Trinity College) and is located in Cabra Dublin 7. The role of the Coordinator is to build and expand the current Centre to become a resource from which parents of Deaf children are supported and advised and can access the key professional, medical and educational services available to Deaf children.
Annual Progress report Sept 2011-Sept 2012

Education Policy

The Educational Partnership Group comprising CIDP, Deaf Hear, IDS and the Centre for Deaf Studies Trinity College, agreed an education policy paper after consultation with the teachers of the Deaf in St. Joseph's and St. Mary's, the visiting teachers and teachers in mainstream schools which was submitted to the National Council for Special Education in June 2009.

The paper presents a new direction for Deaf education policy which will it is hoped be welcomed and implemented by the Department of Education and Science. It can be downloaded here The group in promoting this paper has met with the Department of Education and Health in April 2010 and the NCSE in June 2010, the Visiting Teachers Service in December 2010, the Teaching Council in October 2010 and met with the Presidents of the Teacher Training Colleges in January 2011. The group had an important meeting with the Minister for Education and Skills in January 2011. A meeting with the SESS also took place in January 2011. The group is conscious that the new Minister for Education will be making decisions regarding the policy direction on special education and Deaf education in particular following advice by the NCSE. The Partnership group has prepared a further briefing paper for the NCSE which is available for downloading and met with the Consultative Forum of the NCSE regarding this matter in April 2011. The group also met with the Department of Education regarding policy development in April 2011. The group has commissioned research on access to teacher training colleges by Deaf students and this was published in June 2011. Click here to view the proposal. Meeting with the Teaching Council, NCSE, CHoICE and NCCA and the Department of Education on this matter are currently taking place.

Deaf Education Conference 4th March 2010

The conference was organised and sponsored by the Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIDP),, the Centre for Deaf Studies Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Deaf Society (IDS). The conference featured the launch by John Bosco Conama of a new Policy document designed by the above three organisations which set out a new future for Deaf education. The conference also featured a keynote presentation by Mark Marschark from the USA. Mark is regarded as one of the leading academic researcher's on Deaf education and is the author of the 2009 research advice paper on best practice in Deaf education for the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). There were also presentations from experts from the education and medical professions as well as current teachers and parents of Deaf children who reflected on their experiences of mainstream and Deaf schools. The presenters were both Deaf and hearing people and interpreters from Finland, Slovakia, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were present on the day.

The conference venue was the Croke Park Conference Centre in Dublin and the attendance was 320 delegates which showed the high level of interest in the area. The programme for the day, papers presented at the Conference and the speedtext transcripts of the presenters and the open forum contributions are available via the speedtext transcripts below:

Presentation to Conference on the Future of Deaf Education in Ireland 4th March 2010
Transcripts from the 4th March 2010
Contribution of Cochlear Implants to Deaf Education - Jennifer Robertson and Rosemary O'Halpin
The Visiting Teacher Service for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Pat MacSitric
Conference on Deaf Education - Teresa Griffin
A Partnership Approach to the delivery of Education of Deaf and hard of hearing children - A Policy document - Dr. John Bosco Conama
The Future Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in the Republic of Ireland - Sean Herlihy

Making the case for Irish Sign Language in Education

Click hereto read the article which appeared in the Irish Independent on this matter in early December.

Deaf Students Access to Primary Teacher Training Colleges

The key to enabling this access is the removal of the compulsory Irish Language qualification for admittance to Primary teacher training colleges and replacing it with ISL for Deaf students. The offer from Trinity College Centre for Deaf Studies to assess the competence of the ISL qualifications involved and to support its introduction as a full Leaving Certificate subject is welcomed.

There is a general recognition that the qualifying Deaf students at the end of the training would more than likely find placement mainly in the Deaf units attached to mainstream schools or in the specialist schools. The issue of a restricted qualification was discussed and the representatives from the Partnership group feel that this would be inappropriate since ISL would simply be replacing Irish. Also Boards of Management of mainstream hearing schools would take their own view as to the best candidate to fill any teaching vacancy. The Partnership group are pleased that the Teaching Council CEO was supportive of this change as was the Department of Education and Skills and the NCSE. The Teaching Council informed the group last week that it has now set up an Education subcommittee to examine the issue and make a recommendation to its Council.

The Presidents of the Teacher training colleges all agreed that the current situation was an anomaly and needed to be changed. They raised issues relating to how this would be technically achieved i.e. via a modified CAO or DARE application process, and how would the entry standard of ISL be assessed, what resources would be required within the colleges to accommodate the students and who would fund this, who would teach the to be designed ISL modules and assess competency etc. It was agreed that the Education Partnership group would prepare a technical paper setting out the process to enable access occur and once in place how it should operate with what supports and at what cost. The group have contracted Elizabeth Mathews to complete this work by the end of May 2011. Click here to view Elizabeth Mathews proposal.

In terms of the advice from the group to the NCSE, the areas raised were;

The group referred to the new developments in Holland where all children once identified with a hearing or communication issue were placed in regional specialist schools for Deaf children together with their parents, taught via sign and orally and then as they develop moved to appropriate educational placements. Once this ‘hot housing’ is completed by 5 or 6 years the children are then ready to be appropriately placed. Once placed they are then reassessed every 6 months to ensure that the placement is appropriate.