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Absolute BSL Director - Alison Spear's full profileBritish Sign Language courses in Leeds

Teaching and Assessing Experience

As a Qualified BSL teacher based in Leeds, Alison has more than 20 years experience of teaching and assessing in those subjects:

  • Deaf Awareness
  • Communication Tactics
  • British Sign Language
  • Basic Skills in Literacy and Numeracy

Her teaching experience covered a wide range of organisations and a wide range of target groups, e.g.

  • courses for the local community,
  • Leeds DAHIT (Deaf and Hearing Impaired Team) – Teachers of the Deaf, Communication Support Workers and Deaf Instructors, Educational Interpreters,
  • Schools – for pupils and staff,
  • Colleges – for students and staff,
  • Universities – for students, students’ union, academic staff and non academic staff, teachers training to be teachers of the deaf,
  • Training centres – for trainees and staff,
  • Corporate companies (e.g. Royal Mail),
  • Health Services – nurses, reception staff.

The format of the BSL courses vary, e.g. weekly, blocks, on a one-off basis, residential weekends.


Other Professional Experience

  • providing direct and indirect support to post-16 Deaf students in various training establishments
  • giving talks on a wide range of subjects, e.g. acquiring the language of English as a Deaf person, experiences as a Deaf person
  • training local Deaf people on how to use the Nokia 9000i mobile
  • carrying out interviews 1-1 interviews with Deaf people in their first language, i.e. BSL, and collating interview data
  • teaching Deaf people basic skills in literacy and numeracy on a one-to-one basic or in a workshop format
  • being involved in the recruitment process which includes overseeing the candidates’ interview assessments
  • observing BSL teachers in the classroom and giving constructive feedback
  • supporting and mentoring BSL teachers
  • providing training for BSL teachers, especially novice BSL teachers
  • delivering the BSL module of the Advanced Diploma in the Education of Deaf Children at the University of Leeds which is aimed at teachers wanting to qualify as Teachers of the Deaf
  • modifying an existing BSL Intermediate Curriculum to ensure it’s of a standard required for publication
  • delivering the BDA Foundation curriculum to BSL teachers
  • facilitating workshops
  • monitoring the Deaf presenter’s BSL use
  • collating information and modifying into plain English
  • presenting information into BSL
  • organising BSL Teachers’ Support Network meetings
  • supporting deaf children in mainstream secondary education
  • overseeing the provision of BSL courses in Leeds
  • developing materials for BSL learners and BSL teachers



  • NVQ Level 4 in British Sign Language
  • D32/D33 Assessor Award
  • Mentor training provided by University of Central Lancashire
  • British Sign Language Tutor Training course, University of Durham
  • Advanced Certificate in Teaching the Lifelong Learning Sector: British Sign Language, University of Central Lancashire which includes CPD in Meta-Linguistics, PTLLS, CTLLS
  • Certificate in Sign Linguistics 2, City University, London
  • OCR Level 2 Certificate in Adult Literacy
  • Advanced Sign Teaching, University of Bristol
  • 9 ‘O’ levels including English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Physics, Computer Studies, Accountancy
  • ‘A’ level in Pure Mathematics with Statistics
  • City & Guilds (7307) Further and Adult Education Teachers Certificate
  • City & Guilds Initial Certificate in Teaching Basic Skills (Literacy and Numeracy)
  • RSA qualifications in Typewriting, Word Processing and Core Text Processing Skills
  • Open University Issues in Deafness
  • CACDP Level 1 Communication Tactics with Deaf People


Professional Development

  • CACDP Level 3 Certificate in BSL Curriculum Training
  • CACDP Level 1 Certificate in Deaf Awareness Curriculum Training
  • CACDP Level 1 Certificate in Communication Tactics Assessor Training
  • CACDP Stage 1 BSL Examiner training course
  • CACDP Stage 2 BSL Curriculum Training
  • CACDP Stage 1 BSL Curriculum Training


Personal Development

Member of the Leeds CHSWG (Children’s Hearing Service Working Group) representing parents of deaf children, especially deaf parents of deaf children since 2010.  The aim of the CHSWG is to include representatives from health, social services, education, the local voluntary sector and parents to support deaf children and their families in a co-ordinated way.


Elected as a Trustee of the LSDBP (Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People) in 2012, a voluntary charitable organisation to support Deaf and Blind People in the Leeds area.


Treasurer for DPDC (Deaf Parents Deaf Children) - a group for deaf parents with deaf children all over the UK, showing a positive view of deafness, showing what deaf people can achieve and giving deaf parents an equal voice in what happens to their deaf children.


Professional Membership:

Involved with the British Deaf Association BSL Academy which protects the integrity of BSL through the development of the BSL curriculum and the provision of BSL Teaching skills and BSL Linguistics courses.


Member of the Association of British Sign Language Tutors and Assessors.


Member of the British Deaf History Society.


Member of the British Deaf Association.



2012-03-02, 21:27
'Thank you' for giving up your time to speak so openly and honestly to our fathers at the group on Tuesday 1st February.

I'm sure they fo...
Melinda Napier
2013-05-13, 23:48
That's great! I know your business will be successful as you had been a great tutor when at the City Lit. Good Luck!
2013-05-13, 14:35
My experience with Alison was great, a good teacher and very supportive. I would recommend her to anyone!