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30 07, 2018

First UK Workshop for Language Tutors (Specialist Support Professionals for Deaf Students)

By |July 30th, 2018|Categories: Deaf Education, Professional Development|0 Comments


Saturday 8 September, 10am-4pm


Livesey House, University of Central Lancashire, Preston


Specialist Support Professionals here at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are hosting the first-ever UK-wide workshop specifically for SSPs working with Deaf students. We are excited that this is a chance for members of our often-isolated profession to come together as a group from across the country for the first time. Our aims for this workshop are to network; share good practices; explore professional dilemmas, boundaries and ethics; discuss recent scholarly research into our role; examine issues related to remote working; and talk about administrative concerns, including those associated with DSA-QAG.


Our draft programme includes the following:

  • Presentation by UCLan’s language support co-ordinator Lynne Barnes on her research into the work of language tutors/SSPs for deaf students
  • Small-group activity to discuss the SSP role (experiences, successes, dilemmas, highs, lows), followed by feedback to the whole group
  • Presentation about working remotely, by UCLan SSPs Laura Snell and Jenny Webster
  • Q&A about DSA-QAG issues
  • Large-group discussion about setting up an online/jiscmail forum and our next steps and/or future meetings


There is no fee for the workshop. We will have coffee, tea and biscuits available. Lunch is not provided, but Livesey House is centrally located in Preston with many places nearby to buy lunch, or you may prefer to bring your own lunch.


CPD certificates will be provided at the end of the workshop.

How to Register?

If you would like to join us, please email Lynne Barnes ( to register your interest.  If you have any ideas for what else you would like the workshop to cover, please let us know.

We look forward to hearing from you and meeting with you in September.

Words by UCLan LTs/SSPs

19 03, 2018

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Free CPD training for Assessment Centres

By |March 19th, 2018|Categories: Advice, Deaf Education, Services|0 Comments

“No sales pitch, please” – The Clarion Approach to Training

Earlier this year, we were approached by a Needs Assessment Centre who asked us for “Not a sales pitch” but instead a “Warts and All” story, consisting of:

  • An accurate portrayal of a student’s journey with us.
  • An honest account of what it’s like for us as an agency.
  • Our ultimate aims and ideals for specialist provision, compared to the reality of the situation.

They told us that their staff already knew about specialist provision so they didn’t need to be told again and that they were tired of hearing the same slick pitches that had very little substance behind the hype. What they really wanted was to meet us, and hear the true (carefully redacted) stories. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Throughout Winter, we have been rolling out this new approach to training for Needs Assessment Centres and it’s gone down very well. Personal feedback from individual Needs Assessors has been invaluable. One example:

“This was a great end to the week and really refreshing not be sold a product, but to get some honesty. You made us all laugh as well.”

If you would like us to pay a visit and share your students’ authentic journey once they finish their studies, ‘warts and all’, we would be more than pleased to do so. Alternatively, we would also be proud to present our more traditional training for working with students who are Deaf and hearing impaired, just no slick pitches, we promise!

If so, please get in touch.

Sally Chalk 

Chief Executive Officer


Tel: 01763 209001

Mobile: 07976 939122

For more information visit:

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20 02, 2018

We are hiring for an Education Bookings Coordinator!

By |February 20th, 2018|Categories: Careers, Deaf Education|0 Comments

Come join our Team!

We are hiring for a:

  • Full Time Bookings Coordinator – Education Desk

Based in Thriplow, South of Cambridge

Salary up to £22,000 plus benefits to include gym membership, pension, bonus and 24 days’ holiday (plus bank holidays).

Clarion UK is the UK’s leading provider of interpreting services for Deaf People and we continue to expand our business across all sectors.

Job Description

Working as part of the Education team you will be supporting both Deaf students and those with other learning difficulties who require support in higher and further education.

This is a hugely rewarding job because you will be making a real difference to Deaf students entering into the world of higher or further education.

Your Skills

There are no specific skills required for the role other than to have a mature and confident telephone manner; an ability to prioritise workload and a willingness to work collaboratively in a highly supportive and social team; and a careful eye for detail so that bookings can be completed efficiently and on time.


This is a Monday to Friday appointment (37.5 hours) with start and finish times to be agreed. You will also be required to assist with our Out of Hours Service on a home-based rota arrangement. It is important that you have your own transport as public transport to this village is very limited.

How to Apply

If you are interested, please send your CV with a covering letter to Bethany Jamieson ( or visit our website

If you would like to have an informal chat about the role before applying, do please give us a call on 01763 209 001.

Clarion UK is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from people with disabilities.

25 05, 2017

Specialist Support Professional for Students with Sensory Impairment – Deaf Students

By |May 25th, 2017|Categories: British Sign Language, Careers, Deaf Education, Sign Language|1 Comment

Currently Recruiting: UK Wide
Contract Type: Flexible hours

Overall purpose of role

We are looking for a qualified Teacher of the Deaf who has the ability to support, motivate and encourage students to develop and achieve their full potential. Ideally you will have experience in higher education establishment as you would be required to work mainly within colleges and universities. You will have the ability to be sensitive to pupils’ needs and learning styles and should have an interest in and understanding of additional support needs 

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Provide one-to-one study skills tuition to students enabling them to develop independent learning strategies.
  • To provide bespoke sessions for each student according to the needs of the individual student.
  • Deliver tuition according to Clarion guidelines and code of conduct.
  • Manage paperwork effectively, i.e. completing time sheets and Individual Learning Plans.


Skills, Knowledge & Experience

  • Able to assess learners’ needs and devise an appropriate Individual Learning Plan
  • Advisory Teacher for Deaf students
  • OR
  • Advisory Teacher for Students with Multi-Sensory Impairments
  • OR
  • PGCE* and registered qualified BSL interpreter
  • OR
  • PGCE* plus specialist qualification in relevant subject e.g. Deaf Studies, English, Linguistics, Deaf literacy specialist qualification, Deaf Awareness qualification (specific to language acquisition) etc.


19 05, 2017

Team Member Stories: Toni

By |May 19th, 2017|Categories: Deaf Education, Stories|0 Comments

“I think it’s important for those that have pursued education to be able to grab the bull by the horns. Some of our students are so inspiring and determined to achieve, I just want to help them get there.”

Toni’s from Hemel Hempstead but is living in St Neot’s. She’s been at Clarion for almost three months as an Assistant Bookings Co-ordinator. After a student has been assessed, if Clarion is on their DSA letter, they get in touch with Toni and she arranges the appropriate support. For example, when a student needs a BSL interpreter, a note-taker during a lecture, specialist mentoring or assisted technology training.

“I think education is so important and I don’t think health should ever be a barrier from learning. Everyone is entitled to it regardless of age, sex, race, monetary income. By health, I mean mental health and differences that can be barriers in the way universities teach to the majority.

I’m dyslexic, it’s not necessarily wrong but it’s a different way of learning. I was always a nerd. I never went to University due to personal health reasons. I was very academic growing up but I put a lot of pressure on myself and eventually I burnt out. I didn’t have the support network we try to put in place for these students. That’s why I feel it’s so important the support’s available. Even if they decide that they don’t want it, as long as they know there’s someone who can help, they’ll be able achieve more.

I haven’t been here too long but I’m learning so much and I feel I’m going to be here a while. This is an important job and I want to see our students through their university course to graduation. I want them to know who they can turn to if they have a problem.”

Since working at Clarion, Toni has been learning sign language and doing Deaf awareness training.

“I’m picking it up slowly…I’d like to know enough sign language by the time I’m a parent so I can sign with my children when they’re growing up….I used to work in restaurants and bakeries which is nothing like this. I miss the regular customers, sometimes I wonder what they’re up to but I’m starting to build a rapport with our students and interpreters which I love.”

To find out more about the support Clarion provides for students visit or call 01763 209001.


22 09, 2016

Staff changes at Clarion UK – why we aren’t a team.

By |September 22nd, 2016|Categories: Deaf Education, Deaf Employment|0 Comments

I am sure you are aware that we are busy and have had a number of contract wins recently. As a result, we have expanded our staff  to cope with extra assignments  and  I wanted to update you on who our new staff are with their contact numbers so that you can call  them directly if you need to. It’s always nice to put a face to a name. These are our new staff members:

Team: Education
Name: Magdalena Zieba
Job Title: Education Bookings Co-ordinator
Direct Dial: 01763 207916
What’s the story? Magdalena took over from Caroline Butcher who has looked after our students so carefully for 5 years. Caroline is still a keen advisor to the team and Magdalena is ably assisted by Rhianne.


Team: Education
Name: Rhianne Wright
Job Title: Assistant Bookings Co-ordinator – Education
Direct Dial: 01763 207917
What’s the story? Rhianne is part of the education team. Our students shot up in numbers from 65 to 106 last year, this year we are supporting 150, a four-handed rather than two handed job.


Team: Legal
Names: Paula Hall, Sue Crann and Sam Fleming
Job Title: Paula is the Account Manager for MoJ, Sue and Sam Bookings Co-ordinators
Direct Dial: 01763 207908,  01763207917 and 01763207903.  OR legal Freephone number is 0330 400 5348
What’s the story? This is the team looking after all the legal bookings across the UK. Paula and Sue have 4 years’ experience of working on bookings for Deaf people in the Justice Sector, Sam is an ex police officer from Cambridgeshire Constabulary so has a great grounding in the needs of HMCTS.


Team: Health
Names: Gemma Theedham and Emily Pigg
Job Title: Both Gemma and Emily are the bookings co-ordinators for health bookings across the UK
Direct Dial: Gemma is 01763 207915, Emily 01763 207919
What’s the story? Gemma joined us in Jan 2016, Emily is our newest recruit in September.


Team: Finance
Names: Dawn Masterson
Job Title: Finance Assistant
Direct Dial: 01763 207912
What’s the story? Dawn makes sure all our freelancers bills are processed and paid on time and accurately.


We have some new Staff and Associate interpreters coming in Sept 2016, so watch this space. Do feel free to contact any of them if you have any questions, or of course any of the existing senior business leaders – Sally, Lorna, Sarah, Caroline, Beth, Caroline, Tim, Bob and Tanya on 01763209001.

We are still here!    We welcome feedback about our service and look forward to hearing from you.

We might not live in Walford, but we hold our family close to us here at Thriplow.

15 10, 2015

British Sign Language GCSE

By |October 15th, 2015|Categories: British Sign Language, Deaf Education|0 Comments

We recently reported about the shake up to GCSEs which is due in 2017; we’ve also been reading a lot recently about the excellent idea of introducing a BSL GCSE in schools.  Here’s a round up of links and articles on this hot topic.

Signature are now preparing the BSL GCSE Pilot and have announced the six pilot schools.

As a bit of background, here’s a BBC news article from 2013 picking up on the original Signature announcement, and the Signature response.


Announcement of the scheme has received support from the Deaf and blogging community:

Sarah Ismail is a blogger and disability rights campaigner who edits her personal blog, Same Difference, which covers disability issues big and small. She was interested to note that: “a modern language is defined, in England, as a language that can be spoken or written. Since BSL does not have a written vocabulary, it cannot currently be classed as a modern language under that definition.

However, deaf awareness charity Signature points out that sign language is included on the education curriculum in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Swedish students can study Swedish sign language at GCSE level.”

Deaf lifestyle blogger Liam O’Dell, who blogs at The Life of a Thinker, is backing the Signature campaign, saying “I’ve always wanted to learn BSL to communicate with friends,” said Liam. “But it’s just as important for hearing people that they learn BSL, too.”

Meanwhile, Dexperience, or Deaf Ex-Mainstreamers, an organisation set up to support Deaf people who attend mainstream schools, support the provision of BSL as a national curriculum subject to GCSE Level, as they point out: “the law is not meeting the needs of most Deaf children”.

Deaf Parents Deaf Children, a group for Deaf parents with Deaf children all over the UK, point out that not only would the BSL GCSE be a foundation for the Sign Language interpreters of tomorrow, “The learners of today will take their BSL skills with them when they become nurses, entrepreneurs, athletes, civil servants, politicians, teachers, volunteers…”


Over in Wales, DEFFO is launching a petition to urge the Welsh Government to add BSL to the National Curriculum so that Deaf children and their hearing peers would have the change to gain a GCSE in BSL.


Although it didn’t win, the Signature scheme was shortlisted for “Pitch to Rich”, a fund which gives entrepreneurs from around the UK the chance to win a start-up investment from Richard Branson.

Most recently the campaign has won a boost with funding coming from the Freemasons Charity.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the idea of introducing a BSL GCSE. Let us know what you think, and we’ll publish a follow up post with your comments.

14 07, 2015

Gold Sponsors, Clarion at the 2015 Adept Conference

By |July 14th, 2015|Categories: British Sign Language, Deaf Education, Video Remote Interpreting|0 Comments

Clarion was a very proud Gold Sponsor at the annual Adept Conference at East Berkshire College, Langley Campus on Saturday 27th June. The prestigious event attracts Deaf education professionals coming together to share their experiences and learn many new ones.  It was such a fantastic day with a good turnout that entertained key note speeches and workshops, the time just literally flew by!

Our stand for the day was laden with goodies, from leaflets and coasters to chocolate and sweets that were quickly snapped up by the attendees.

Our CEO, Sally gave a wonderful presentation on advanced technology and was part of a Panel in a Question and Answer session. If you would like a copy of the presentation, please contact us. There were further workshops conducted by other professionals such as voice-over, ethical dilemmas and BSL poetry.

We also provided a ‘live’ demo of our new Video Remote Interpreting Service (VRI) at our stall that was available throughout the day to the event’s attendees and we received some lovely feedback from many people, including Tim Scannell who sampled the new service and said:

“The quality is great and dialogue is straight forward between Beth and me”

Penny using VRI

Penny Wilkinson checking out Clarion’s new VRI service with Beth

Overall, a brilliant day was had by all, many coming from different parts of the country and we can’t wait for next year’s event!

26 06, 2015

GCSE ‘Shake Up’ to Affect Students from 2017

By |June 26th, 2015|Categories: British Sign Language, Deaf Education|0 Comments

We heard in the news last week that we are to have yet another 'shake up' to the GCSE grade boundaries. Pass marks are to be raised again in a new nine to one number system – nine being the highest and one being the lowest. This new grading system is to bring England up to the same standard as other countries such as Finland, Canada and the Netherlands.

Currently, grades below C are still officially considered a pass, however, the new grading system states that students will have to obtain a Grade 5 (equivalent to a low B, high C) to be considered a 'good pass.'

Although changes do not come into force until 2017, exams are said to become 'more rigorous' from September this year. This announcement of grade changes follows another announcement made a week previously that said pupils must sit English, Maths, Science, History OR Geography, and a language at GCSE.

With only 36.3% of Deaf children in England reaching GCSE benchmarks compared to 65.3% of their peers, according to DfE statistics in 2014, will this new change make it even harder to Deaf and disabled students to achieve as well as their peers? We hope not!

With that in mind, why not download our new Education Leaflet and see how we can help students achieve academic success.

Clarion Student Support Leaflet

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

What do you think to the new changes? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below!

2 03, 2015

How to be the best for your Deaf or hearing-impaired students, Part 1

By |March 2nd, 2015|Categories: British Sign Language, Deaf Education|0 Comments

Learning Language

For adults who have been profoundly deaf since childhood or infancy their deafness may have a significant effect on their use of English. Deaf children may miss out on language learning through informal immersion and by picking up sounds and language around them. What is critical is not being exposed to language as it is used in situ, in formal and informal situations, with different intonation and inference.

Many Deaf people who do not use English will use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language instead. BSL is not a signed form of English nor a collection of gestures nor mime. It is a fully functioning language with its own grammar and syntax and lexicon. The language makes use of space and involves movement of the hands, body, face and head. It can express the same complex concepts and ideas that any other language can.

The Best Communication Tactics

Your deaf students will have worked out ways to communicate effectively with hearing people, they will have their own preferred ways of working to get access to information. Here are some basic tips when you are involving your d/Deaf student and to give you some confidence:

  • Talk. Sit down and get to know them a bit before the course starts, make sure you understand any possible problems or what they will need from you in order to access the course fully.
  • Don’t worry. If you both feel that communication may break down, or it is breaking down have a conversation with them about this. Don’t be worried about writing things down, although not ideal it is much better than not finding out what is needed.
  • Make sure you have their attention before you start lecturing. You may want to wave or tap lightly on shoulders. Or smile and check.
  • Don’t shout. Please don’t shout at the student or exaggerate the words with your lip patterns; this makes it really hard to understand. By far the simplest way to communicate is at a normal pace and clearly.
  • Be clear with your words. Both the student and the support worker may need clarification if you have a strong accent, a beard, moustache or speak very swiftly. One on their own is okay, but a combination and they may ask you to repeat.
  • Be clear with your mouth. Let the student see your lips, this either helps their residual hearing or their lip-reading. Make sure that your mouth is not covered with your hand, pen or scarf.
  • No pacing like a caged tiger. If there is a deaf student in the group, please don’t walk up and down in front of the class or lecture.
  • No shadows. Lighting is important, shadows will be cast by lamps or windows and it will be hard to see your face.
  • Remember the student. If the student has a support worker e.g BSL/English interpreter, a lip-speaker or a note-taker always talk to the student. The student will be looking at the support worker, but the conversation is between yourself and the student.
  • Different ways to say the same thing. If the d/Deaf student cannot lip-read what you are saying or cannot understand, try saying it in a different way.
  • Keep the context clear. Don’t jump around topics without announcing, verbally what you are doing. Announce that you are going to talk about something different, don’t presume great leaps of words and imagination will be followed, then do it.
  • Silence is golden. If there is lots of background noise, this it can make things difficult. Try moving away from the noise or finding a quiet place to improve communication.

Remember, more tips can be found here.