Institute of Swimming Tutor’s share their passion behind introducing teachers to Deaf Awareness and using British sign language in aquatics. 

This interactive online CPD (continual professional development), Introduction to Deaf Awareness and using British Sign Language in Aquatics from the Institute of Swimming, aims to help swimming teachers and coaches improve and adapt their sessions to better accommodate deaf and hard of hearing people in the aquatic environment.

This course is delivered via webinar, it lasts 3.5 hours and is led by Swim England tutor and Level 2 swimming teacher, Clare Brewer. Clare shares her brief bio below which details her extensive experience and qualifications, as well as the reason behind why she decided to learn British Sign Language and tutor this course for the Institute of Swimming….

“I have been a swimming teacher for seven years and an aquatics tutor for three. In 2015 my niece was born with severe conductive hearing loss. To help her communicate, we started learning British Sign Language. As time went on, I found myself teaching children with varying disabilities and special educational needs (such as ADHD and Autism) to swim. But I wanted to do more! So, in April last year I started working in a special needs school during the day, as well as being a swimming teacher in the evenings and an aquatics tutor (under Swim England) at weekends. I am now a Higher Level Teaching Assistant and working towards the role of Communication Support Worker. This involves working with children who use varying forms of communication, from sign language to Picture Exchange Communication Systems. I hold the British Sign Language Level Three qualification.”

Deaf Awareness in the UK

It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing (UK Council on Deafness). The UK Council on Deafness coordinates Deaf Awareness Week every year, this year it is taking place from 3-9 May. This UK wide campaign aims to raise awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support deaf people and promote social inclusion. By developing and delivering the Introduction to Deaf Awareness and using British Sign Language in Aquatics course, our hope is to increase deaf awareness and inclusivity in the aquatics community by giving swimming teachers and coaches the essential skills needed to deliver lessons to deaf or hard of hearing learners. Swim England tutor and Level 2 swimming teacher, Ashleigh Scott explains what inspired her to learn British Sign Language and where it has taken her…

“I was first inspired to learn British Sign Language in 2012 when I began teaching swimmers from the Royal School of the Deaf in Derby. Over time, my deaf-awareness skills grew and I learnt how to make my swimming lessons more visual and inclusive for deaf swimmers. I have now been a swimming teacher for around 13 years and a tutor of Swim England qualifications for three years and have worked with deaf children and adults in a range of swimming contexts. From 2014 – 2018, I managed the award-winning Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project on behalf of the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), a four-year Sport England funded project to break down the barriers for deaf young people to learn to swim. I also have a Level Three qualification in British Sign Language.”

Amy Hughes also explained her passion in teaching the Introduction to Deaf Awareness and using British Sign Language in Aquatics course with the Institute of Swimming… 

“I have been a swimming teacher for almost eight years now and have experience working with all ages and abilities in the water. Back in 2015, my second daughter was born with severe conductive hearing loss and therefore I started learning British Sign Language. I currently have the British Sign Language Level Three qualification and have been accepted to start British Sign Language Level Four in September 2021. It wasn’t long before I started to combine my skill set and started looking into adapting my own lessons to become more deaf friendly.  As well as swimming teaching, I also work for a company who supports people who have a sensory loss. I am therefore privileged to support people who use British Sign Language as their first language, everyday.”

Learners share their positive feedback about the tutors and the course after completing this CPD last year, 

“All three were friendly, helpful and approachable.” Monica Clark, Swimming Teacher

“Fantastic group of ladies and thoroughly enjoyed the CPD, they should all be extremely proud. I liked the fact I could do this in my own home and I found it really engaging.” Francesca Noyce, Swimming Teacher

“It was very enjoyable and interesting.” Sophie Mountain, Swimming Teacher

Book onto an Introduction to Deaf Awareness and using British Sign Language in Aquatics course today! Upcoming 2021 courses dates are: 

  1. 11 September 2021 
  2. 7 November 2021 

If you have any questions regarding this course please contact: iosadmin@swimming.org