Search This Blog


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Mary Hare School


We will be embarking on a 3 part mini series on highly regarded institutes focused on providing deaf students with a tremendous education!
The focus of part 1 will have us take a look at the first stages of education and what this offers to the deaf community.

School. Like marmite, we either seem to love it or hate it. Some aspects are good and some not so much ;)

You can make lifelong friends                                                                     
But you can also have negative experiences with peers
You only do about 6 hours a day with breaks in-between
But you have to do homework each day!

You get to see your friends everyday
But can’t spend all day playing and gossiping!
You get to learn a wide variety of subjects
But you have to do subjects you hate and feel some of what you learn isn’t relevant
You get to play with your friends at break/lunch time
But you don’t get as long as you’d like!
You get to find people with the same interests as yourself
But get picked on for being different in any way
You get the weekends and holidays off
But have to get up early on school days!

The point I’m getting at here is there are many aspects of school that kids will love and hate but most of all they just want to make friends and fit in.
It can be hard enough going to school for the first time, being the new kid, being a bit different but add on top the fact you’re deaf or hard of hearing and it can be sometimes be very difficult to fit into the daily routine.

Being part of a mainstream school, deaf children can sometimes have a major disadvantage compared to their hearing peers.

Challenges can be:

  •  Lack of awareness by staff
  •  Background noise and accessing sound at a distance
  •  Lack of real understanding and possibly not asking for clarification, simply nodding instead
  •  Not wanting to ask the teacher to repeat, leading to possibly missing out on the child’s vital development from a young age
Did You Know?

  •  There are roughly 35,000 deaf children in the UK
  •  Around 85% are taught in mainstream schools
  •  Deaf children are underachieving on a very significant scale across the UK. They are 43%  less likely to get five GCSEs, including English and Maths, at grades A* to C, than all children (Source:

Mary Hare School

Now let’s flip all those stats on their head; Introducing Mary Hare School, a school where deaf children can feel a part of a strong deaf community.

Mary Hare School is located in Newbury, Berkshire. This is very close to home for us as we too are based in Newbury! The other 2 instalments of our mini series area further distance from us, so let’s enjoy the home comforts of Newbury for today!

Primary School

The primary school allows for children get to board at the school and the support is fantastic:

-  Out of school hours dedicated care staff are responsible for the children and their welfare. Each bedroom group, which can vary in size, is the responsibility of one keyworker. This keyworker will look after every aspect of the child's welfare, keeping in regular contact with parents, liaising with the school nurse, talking with teachers, planning individual programmes and attending annual reviews.

-  It is ensured that each child's keyworker is around at important times of the day, especially in the early morning and at bedtime. Rotas are organised in such a way that each child is able to establish a close personal relationship with his / her keyworker.

The school offers an open invitation to visit them at the primary school, to see their teaching methods in action, meet their dedicated staff and to look around their extensive buildings.

Mary Hare Primary School offers a vibrant primary curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs of hearing-impaired children. Taught within an auditory-oral philosophy, class groups normally have between 5 and 8 pupils working with a qualified Teacher of the Deaf in good acoustic conditions. Group hearing aids further support each child's use of residual hearing. Classroom assistants work in partnership with the teachers to support the work of the children.
 The high staff/pupil ratio means that adult support is readily available for pupils for follow-up work, reinforcement or an individual programme.

Don’t worry it’s not all work and no play!
Children can participate in a range of on and off-site activities; this range is frequently revised and extended. Children are given every encouragement to attend clubs within the neighbourhood so that over time they can mix with confidence both at school and in the local hearing community.

Secondary School

The secondary school ranges from year 7 up to year 13 and just for deaf children. A variety of subjects are taught at both GCSE and A-level and the school has a good reputation for providing its Deaf students with the tools to excel in further education.

The communication policy is oral, this means there is no sign language used in class. Although students may use sign language outside of lessons.

The school aims to achieve the balance in academic and social development, creating a happy and positive environment, so that each student can achieve their full potential. They aim to fully integrate all children into school and make it a positive experience.

The facilities at the secondary school are on par, if not better, than other schools. Such as:

  • 20 classrooms fitted with powerful hearing aid equipment
  • Indoor heated swimming pool
  • 3 Audiology rooms
  • Media Studies suite 
  • Art rooms (2 large art studios, a design studio, a photography studio and well equipped dark room, plus pottery and textile facility)

Like with the primary school, it is most common that the children board but often go home for the weekends. Being away from home at such a young age can certainly be a scary thought but Mary Hare is well equipped with caring and highly trained staff.

There’s just so much they offer we can’t possibly cram it all into 1 blog, if you want to see more about them then just search for them online and you’ll find plenty of helpful information.

We hope you have enjoyed our blog and look forward to seeing you for the further 2 instalments.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

5 Viral Deaf Stories That Will Make Your Heart Melt

It is well and truly the digital age. We’re likely all on at least one social media platform if not numerous. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have allowed us all to connect to each other with the simple click of a button.

This also allows for any given story to explode onto the web at any given moment, it only takes 1 like, 1 retweet, 1 share to get the ball rolling and a clear snowball effect occurs and you have a viral campaign.

1. Dad surprises Daughter at her  Wedding with this priceless gift

Giving your daughter away to another man must be a hard experience for any father to have to do. From that moment he first takes her arm and guides her down the aisle, to the teary father-daughter dance, there’s no-one quite like Dad and he is an integral part of a girl’s wedding.

One Dad just couldn’t put into words what his daughter meant to him, so he went above and beyond to give her a gift she will truly never forget and will cherish forever.

You see, Nicole Cortez is a sign language interpreter and what her Dad did, well just take a look!:

Truly tear jerking right?! Her Dad spent a whole year learning to sign, so he could give his speech to her in sign. Although Nicole is not deaf, we still think this is an amazing gesture and tribute that her Dad did for all her hard work. Currently sitting at a total of over 18.5 million views, it can only be a good thing to gain greater and positive exposure for the Deaf community. Mr Cortez we salute you!

We nearly forgot the best part. Right at the very end of the video Mr Cortez signs “I’m watching you” to his new son-in-law. Whatever your form of relaying and receiving communication, every man knows to keep Daddies Princess happy!

2. What this Entire Town did for their deaf Neighbour is Truly a Sight to Behold

Muaharrem is a young deaf man from Istanbul. His sister, Ozlem, teamed up with a production crew to give him a day he’ll never forget.

Now the stunt was an ad campaign by Samsung, but that in no way detracts from the message and real emotion the video creates. The team took a month setting up cameras around Muaharrem’s town and teaching his neighbours how to sign.

The ad starts with his sister taking him out on, what he expects, is just another normal day but he is in for a special treat. He is greeted with a “Good morning” in sign by a man on the street. Next at his local shop, the guy behind the till greets him using sign language.
Then upon exiting the shop, he is signed to by yet another man.

By now Muaharrem is visibly confused and assumes his sister knows these people.

Next a woman bumps into him on the street and quickly issues an apology in sign. 

Shortly after he and his sister enter a taxi, upon which the driver also greets him using sign language. Muaharrem is completely baffled.

They are dropped off and then an even bigger surprise awaits Muaharrem. A  Samsung employee is addressing and signing him via a live broadcasting.
The Samsung team and all his neighbours come out to greet him and you can’t help but get emotional as Muaharrem starts to well up.

A Samsung spokesperson has confirmed that everything you see is genuine, so we can all rest easy and spread the joy of the campaign.
Good job all those who worked on this tremendous campaign, we need more people like you!:

3. A deaf Shelter Dog finds Her Perfect Match

Now this is one for all you animal lovers out there, even if you don’t like dogs you’ll have to admit this story tugs on the old heart strings!

Seeing any story of a dog in a shelter immediately makes it an emotional read but adding into the equation a deaf dog and it steps it up a gear! Already clearly gone through some traumatic occasions but now we’re questioning how does this dog communicate and understand? 

The shelter’s volunteers were having trouble getting Rosie’s attention, soon discovering she was in fact deaf.

So the volunteers taught Rosie to recognise certain hand movements and gestures. Such as sit, stay and other basic commands.

Her face is enough to make your heart melt! Take a look at Rosie’s journey to meeting her perfect fit for her and her new owner. Some great people can see solutions that others may never have even considered!:

4.Mum Designs Unique Hearing-Aids for Children

You find out your child is profoundly to severely deaf and will require a hearing aid. You love your child unconditionally, for you it’s no big deal but if your child is of a certain age how will they feel?

No child wants to be seen as different have a reason to stand out from the crowd. This potentially creates a dilemma for parents of deaf children.

Well worry no more. Sarah Ivermee, a mum to her partially deaf son, Freddie, has created ‘Lugs’. Offering personalised earpieces, with all sorts of patterns and figures, at the choice of the customer. We think this is awesome!

Her goal is to make hearing aids more appealing to children and it seems to be working, selling 1000 kits in 24 hours, not bad for a business run from her living room.

Luckily for Sarah, Freddie embraced his new cool hearing aids but she knew not all children would be the same. According to her website, her overall designs are so appealing that even Freddie’s 2 year old brother, Charlie, wants to wear one and he’s not even deaf!

There are all sorts of designs, ranging from superheroes, to race cars, to flowered patterns, to seasonal designs and many more. With new designs on the way, it’s the place to go for designer hearing aids for your children!

We’ll take a Minion one ourselves please Sarah!

Check out her website here:

5. Dad Shows The Ultimate Sign of Support By Getting This Hearing Aid Tattoo

Now getting a tattoo at anytime is a brave and painful experience. But the pain was worth it for this Dad, showing support for his daughter on her having a cochlear implant. This truly remarkable gesture by this Dad to show solidarity to his daughter so she doesn’t have to go through this experience on her own is truly a sight to behold, just take a look.

Now the story wasn’t quite fully explored through the Instagram post it was shared via. But we are led to believe the man’s daughter was being bullied because of her new cochlear implant.

Like any good father he wasn’t just going to sit around and accept this, so he took action! He went out and got a tattoo identical to that of his daughter’s implant, so she wouldn’t feel self-conscious and alone.

This father deserves some sort of medal! It takes a truly special and loving individual to perform such a permanent gesture and we think this girl is going to be perfectly fine with a Dad like hers fighting her corner. The world’s your oyster, nothing can hold you back!

Well it seems this post has come to an end, we thank you very much for taking the time out of your day to experience these wonderful stories with us and look forward to enjoying many more viral deaf stories.

We here at terptree want to inspire you, share the good in the world. Sometimes we all need a little pick me up and I hope we have put a smile on your face and inspired you to create a similar gesture of good will.

Monday, 16 November 2015

It's Time For Another John Lewis Christmas Ad

It’s that time of year again, nothing quite says Christmas like a John Lewis advert. Its ok we can say that word now! It’s nearing that time, warm hot chocolate, Christmas carols, family gatherings, Christmas films and most of all (to some of us) presents!

It’s November, no longer do we have to whisper it quietly, no longer can the bar humbugs shut down our spirit. Christmas is coming and it’ll soon be here and gone before you know it!

Every year we all have our Christmas traditions, baking gingerbread men, putting the Christmas tree and decorations up, shopping etc. But one traditional that has captured the whole countries’ heart is the annual John Lewis Christmas Ad. It is now the start of the festive period, once the ad airs, you know it’s socially acceptable to bring in that festive cheer.

Before their latest Christmas ad aired, people were eagerly awaiting the latest instalment of John Lewis’ Christmas adverts. They have captured the meaning of Christmas in a nutshell. People actually demand and anticipate something that is actively trying to sell them something, it has now become a part of British identity, a tradition, a need. No other time of year would people be so open to being targeted to spend their hard earned cash.

So let’s cut to the chase and go through each yearly instalment of John Lewis’ Christmas ads:

2007 (Shadow Christmas)

The start of John Lewis’ Christmas control.

2007 saw John Lewis make the decision to return to TV after a 3 year absence (What a decision that was!). Just 6 years ago John Lewis aired their 1st Christmas ad and in that time they have conquered the Christmas market!

Their 2007 Christmas ad entitled ‘Shadow Christmas’ saw John Lewis emerge at the front of innovation and take the lead from other retailers in the festive period.

The advert saw varying presents stacked and positioned in such a way that created a shadow of a woman and her dog, showcasing john Lewis’ vow to have the present for whoever you were looking for.

Let’s take a look back at the ad and see if you remember it:

 2008 (From Me To You)

Once again the 2008 John Lewis Christmas ad showcased their belief they could cater for all members of the public.

This year they added a cover version, which has now become paramount to the campaign. Each cover version since has held a spot in the Top 40 in the charts.

This was also the 1st year Craig Inglis took a more visibly active role in the brand’s advertising. He is now John Lewis’ Marketing Director!

Anyone remember this instalment?:

2009 (Sweet Child O’ Mine)

2009 saw Adam+Eve win the majority of control of the John Lewis Brand and they revamped the Christmas ads to create a whole new feel and meaning.

The advert had children opening presents meant for adults, occupied by a cover of the famous Guns N’ Roses track ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. It was the 1st blockbuster style ad, costing in excess of £5 million! The emphasis of the campaign was the narrative and this would lead John Lewis to evolve their ads further down the line.

Christmas sales increased by 12.7% from the previous year. This was the start of the Christmas campaigns we openly love.

Another piece of nostalgia for you:

2010 (A Tribute To Givers)

This time the gift givers were the focal point of the ad campaign. This was the year that John Lewis really started to captivate the public and pull on the old heart strings. The cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ captures the emotion of the ad and leaves excited for all the Christmas memories to come.

The scene where the boy delivers his dog a stocking in the cold snowy conditions is heart melting. 5 years down the line and we still have a place in our hearts for that dog:

 2011 (The Long Wait)

2011, the year John Lewis went bigger and better than ever. The start of the Christmas revolution if you will.

A beautifully shot 90 second ad captured the public’s Christmas cheer. The mix of gloomy music, a clear intriguing narrative and on a scale grander than ever before, lead to massive success for the brand.

The ad’s popularity was reflected in the companies’ sales, going up by 9.3% in the festive season. The long wait is over, relive the 1st blockbuster John Lewis Christmas ad:

2012 (Snowpeople In Love)

Love, it’s what Christmas is all about. Emotion, that’s what John Lewis’ Christmas capture and this year was no different. Harnessing the feeling of love and making someone happy this Christmas.

The start of John Lewis’ annual emotional roller-coaster saw us explore a snowman searching far and wide to bring his beloved snowwomen a hat, scarf and gloves. Again the ad led to a sales increase over the Christmas period and would expect no less by now!

The ad leaves you in a giving mood and had the public deem the John Lewis Christmas ads as an integral part of the start and meaning of Christmas. Take a look and spread a little love this Christmas:

2013 (The Bear & The Hare)

2013, the year John Lewis well and truly took control of the Christmas market. What an ad, I’m sure I don’t even need to remind you of what it entails!

Through the use of social media, the advert gained exposure and love like never before. With the ad being teased before its full reveal, the expectation and anticipation was greater than ever before and I don’t think anyone could not enjoy this ad!

It quickly became the companies’ most popular ad campaign. However, the deaf community couldn’t quite capture the full experience and gave John Lewis a chilly verdict on the matter.
Action On Hearing Lose contacted John Lewis via Twitter and got just the answer we were all looking for! Having realised the need to include deaf people, John Lewis acted quickly and within a week the ad re-aired with subtitles. A positive push from for the deaf community, well done guys!

Relive the emotion of this heart wrenching ad, it’s a tear jerker:

2014 (Monty The Penguin)

Once again John Lewis created a Christmas advert that would have the tears streaming down your face.

Monty the penguin has the love and companionship of his friend Sam but everywhere he goes he sees couples in love. He doesn’t have another his or her half. The emotional narrative really captured the heart of the nation. Becoming, by far, John Lewis’ most successful campaign at over 24.8 million views to date on YouTube! And a national treasure.

It’s time to get the tissues again:

2015 (#ManOntheMoon)

It’s that time you’ve all been waiting for. Let’s not prolong the wait anymore:

So we have another deep and meaningful ad to celebrate. It’s another tearjerker, no doubts about that! With just over 12.7 million views in a week, it is once again set to rule the Christmas period and become John Lewis’ most successful campaign to date. Reiterated by the hashtag, encouraging people to share and discuss it via social media.

But what does this year’s ad actually mean?

The advert was actually made in partnership with charity ‘Age UK’ (The country's largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life) with the mission of raising awareness for the older people who may go a month, and not just at Christmas, without speaking to a neighbour, friend or even a family member.

The emotional attachment and feelings of nostalgia these ads bring, help take us out of our everyday lives and take us back to simpler times.
How many of us wish we could all go back to being kids and to never grow up?
How many of us wish Christmas wasn’t such a panic anymore?
How much of us wish we could see our families more?
How many of us wish we could harness that Christmas spirit all year round?

The John Lewis Christmas campaigns make us feel human again, not a consumer, not a worker. All our worries are temporarily lifted when the ad airs, we feel compassion for others (probably more so than we do the rest of the year). They capture exactly what it means to be Christmas.

What It’s Like For Older Deaf People

The whole family is over, the cheer is ringing in, the turkey is roasting away and the bubbly is flowing. Everyone’s enjoying themselves and yet you still feel alone.

It’s hard enough being older and not seeing your family much but add on the fact you’re deaf and Christmas could feel like a dreaded day.

So here’s a brief list of what older deaf people find challenging at Christmas and how to keep them included:

Christmas Carols
§  Deck The Hal
§ O Christmas Tree
§ O Holy Night
§  Silent Night

Are just a small selection of the Christmas Carols we know and love (come on you know you love them really!). But what if you’re an older deaf person?

Then you may no longer be able to enjoy them in the same way as you once did. Older deaf people may not know Sign Language so even a signing of the carols may not be able to revive past Christmas glories.

Christmas TV

Whether you like what’s on or not, you can’t say they don’t make the effort when it comes to Christmas TV. So how do you enjoy these programmes if you’re an older deaf person?

Subtitles, subtitles, subtitles. As we mentioned earlier, John Lewis now includes subtitles on their Christmas ads and the rest of the festive period can also be enjoyed in the same way. When the whole family are sat around the TV it can be easy to feel out-of-place, if you’re deaf, so whack on those subtitles and you’ll have done a simply gesture and have Christmas accessible for the whole family.

Christmas Kids

There’s nothing more excitable than a kid at Christmas right? Well that’s great, we love seeing happy children. But in that constant flow of excitement it can be hard for older and hard of hearing relatives to take in everything the child is saying.

Asking your children to make a conscious effort to maintain eye contact can greatly increase a deaf person’s opportunity to interact. Even if a child remembers just a handful of times throughout the day, it would certainly make a difference.

 Christmas Duties

Give your older deaf relatives a responsibility, no matter how small. There’s nothing like feeling part of something and the chaos of Christmas Day is no different. So whether it’s just getting drinks or setting the table.

Christmas is a time where a family ‘mucks in’ so let’s not forget that!

Spreading That Christmas Cheer

Since it’s coming up to Christmas, we don’t want anyone feeling sad! So try and make a conscious effort to include anyone you feel may be lonely this, and every other, Christmas!

- Your grandparents aren’t awkward; they’re just stubborn and won’t put their hearing aids in.
- Your neighbour isn’t antisocial; they just don’t know how to interact due to their lack of hearing.
Your friend isn’t a scrooge; they just can’t fully enjoy Christmas Carols.

Making everything as accessible as possible and being as deaf aware, as possible will really make this Christmas one to remember! Invite someone round this Christmas, or visit them. Whether you’re deaf or not, no-one should be alone at any point in the year but especially not at Christmas. 

Friday, 13 November 2015

What is an IIDP?

So what is an IIDP? What does it stand for?

Well IIDP stands for (Individual Interpreter Development Plan) and in short it is:

-      An approved development plan to allow you to continue your journey to Interpreter qualification, whilst receiving support and supervision from Registered Sing Language Interpreters (RSLI’s)

But you didn’t think we’d just leave you just with that shred of information? Of course not!


So you want to be a BSL interpreter? (We’re assuming I know but just roll with it) Awesome but now what?

We’ll start off with the qualifications:

Signature is an awarding body accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) who provide the following qualifications:

-          Level 1 Award (Elementary)
-          Level 2 Certificate (Intermediate)
-          Level 3 NVQ Certificate (intermediate)
-          Level 6 NVQ (Advanced)

IBSL (Institute of British Sign Language) also award language qualifications:

-          Level 1 Award
-          Level 2 Certificates
-          Level 3 Certificates
-          Level 4 Certificates
-          Level 6 Certificates

For those of you studying in Scotland, there is a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) system for students learning British Sign Language. Currently there are 5 levels in the SQA system (continuing assessments):

-          SQA Introduction to British Sign Language
-          SQA British Sign Language Level 1
-          SQA British Sign Language Level 2
-          SQA British Sign Language Level 3
-          SQA Professional Development Award in British Sign Language Studies

Now let’s say you’re learning or have completed level 6, or the equivalent, in BSL.

What next?

Before you start, here are the two registration levels:

·         TSLI (Trainee Sign Language Interpreter)
·         RSLI (Registered Sign Language Interpreter)

TSLI status is available to those who:

-     Are undertaking an approved interpreter training course or an approved development plan leading to  registered status
-     Meet all of the requirements set out in the National Occupational Standards for Trainee Interpreters (NOS TINT)
-     Are supervised throughout their training

A RSLI is:

·         A fully qualified interpreter. They have completed all the formal training in both language and interpreting technique to become a British Sign Language (BSL)/English interpreter.

IIDP (Individual Interpreter Development Plans)

A good first step in order to register as a TSLI is an IIDP. Learners will typically undertake an IIDP and gain the experience necessary to progress their studies further, working with a supervisor/registered interpreter (RSLI)

IIDPs help learners to register with the NRCPD. This is vital in becoming a TSLI and eventually a RSLI.

Following an initial assessment, you will meet up with your supervisor every few months. In these meetings you will review your development plan and create new goals. In between meetings you will be encouraged to complete tasks that increase your skills and knowledge.

It is a collaborative process that is led by you. You have access to your supervisor to discuss any future assignments or ethical dilemmas. Your supervisor can also be a valuable resource in helping you further your reading and have access to different training that is available.

The plan is designed to support you in beginning your Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Interpreting.

TSLI (Trainee Sign Language Interpreter)

This photo badge is purple as seen in this example 

The next stage would be to start training as a TSLI. To register as a TSLI there are some entry requirements, they are as follows:

-     Level 6 Certificate in British Sign Language (Already having completed Level 1, 2 & 3)
-     English skills at C2 standard (Level 7)
-     Work experience of interpreting BSL/English

There are fees involved to join the register - NRCPD

A TSLI is still training and on the way to becoming a RSLI and is strongly encouraged to work with a mentor . The types of interpreting they can work in are limited. A trainee will have either finished BSL language to Level 6 or will be still learning. They will not have completed the interpreter programme or training.

RSLI (Registered Sign Language Interpreter)

This photo is yellow as seen in this example

After completing your IIDP and level 6 NVQ Diploma in Interpreting, you are finally ready to register as an RSLI.
Again there will be some registration fees involved.

A RSLI is identified as being able to work safely. They can work in any field of interpreting but are strongly encouraged to further continue training, if they wish to operate within a special area e.g conference interpreting. It is also mandatory to undertake Continual Professional Development (CPD) to maintain registration with NRCPD as both a TSLI and RSLI.

If You Need Some More Guidance

If you’re still feeling unsure or confused, don’t hesitate about getting in touch with us. Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help!