The Deaf Academy employs a team of Communication Support Workers (CSWs). CSWs support students and other individuals in a range of settings. All members have BSL training to Level 3 and some with BSL Level 6.
Each CSW has a mentor and to maintain professional development, attends regular in-house training. This ensures the professional standard of the team remains current and of a high standard in accordance with the CSW Code of Practice.
The Communication Support Worker team is a group of professionals employed to provide communication support for students on an individual basis or as part of a group with other deaf students at the Academy and in mainstream educational institutions such as primary schools, secondary schools, mainstream colleges, universities and other educational organisations. They also support students when taking examinations, on mainstream school trips or when on work placements. Many CSWs are qualified to train mainstream Teachers, Lecturers, Employers and peers from the wider community in Deaf Awareness.
The Deaf Academy’s bilingual approach to learning means the role of a CSW is multifaceted, which is of huge benefit to Academy students and supporting those students educated in mainstream settings. Whilst BSL is an important communication tool for deaf students, many students have unique learning needs and require more than one form of support day-to-day. CSWs can also provide signed supported English, note taking, language modification and lip-speaking. This level of bespoke support enables students to fully access educational information contained within curriculums and any other educational and social environments, in a manner best suited to their individual needs.
Working collaboratively with other specialist staff across the Academy and externally, such as Speech and Language Therapists and Educational Audiologists, CSWs aid the progression of deaf students educationally, socially, linguistically and culturally. They provide the support that empowers individuals through the development of a range of appropriate strategies for each context.