Sensory Service – Deaf START (Support, Training and Resource Team)

1. What does the service do?

Deaf START is a post 16 support service for deaf students to enable them to access courses in local colleges or training centres. Specialist staff provide the following:

  • Two-way interpreting in British Sign Language and English during classes and at interviews etc.
  • Tuition to assist deaf students with their written English
  • Note taking in lessons to allow the student to concentrate on what is being said or signed
  • Deaf awareness training for college staff as well as a range of other local public institutions (usually arranged through DAHIT)
  • Training for note takers

2. Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

Deaf START is based in Adam’s Court, Lower Wortley but we go out to work with deaf students across the whole of Leeds as required.

3. Who does the service provide for?

Deaf START can support deaf and hearing impaired students in whatever post 16 collegeor training centre they attend. We can also work with students in higher education, resources permitting.

The college or centre is charged for any services at a rate equivalent to the overallcost of delivery. Funding for support for “high needs” students in further education can be accessed through assessment and the appropriate Local Authority processes.

Deaf START can also support with BSL interpreting for any school or education institution, including one-off support for meetings with deaf parents or other deaf attendees.

4. How can I start using the service?

Most referrals to Deaf START come from colleges or training centres. It is feasible that students may be able to use a personal budget to employ Deaf START staff more directly.

5. How are decisions made about who can use your service?

Any deaf student assessed to be requiring the services offered by Deaf START can use the service providing sufficient staffing is available to do so and the college or training centre has agreed to pay the fees required.

6. How does Deaf START communicate with service users?

We communicate directly with students face to face, through emails and texts messags.Students complete a customer satisfaction interview during at the end of their course toinform service decision making.

7. Is the service fully accessible?

Yes. There are no physical accessibility issues in relation to our service. Other accessibility issues are dealt with as required.

8. What specialist skills and training do the staff supporting the students have?

All staff are specialists in their specific field of deaf education. They receive frequent training to ensure that their knowledge and skills are up to date. The team employs a number of different specialist staff:

  • Communication Support Workers (CSWs) and interpreters are skilled in working in British Sign Language (BSL) and English. They work with students using BSL to ensure access to the curriculum and a two way dialogue between the deaf student and teacher as well as between the student and his/her peers.
  • English Support Tutors have the specialist knowledge required to support deaf students with their written English. They are skilled at teaching and are proficient in BSL aswell as written English.
  • Notetakers are skilled in taking notes for students who are engaged in following thelesson through BSL, lip reading and/or listening to spoken English.

9. Who can I contact for further information?

If you want to know more about the service offered, including prices, contact them on

Phone 0113 378 5346 or

email or

write to: Kim Homewood and Sue Platt, Deaf START Coordinators, Adams Court, Kildare Terrace, Leeds, LS12 1DB

10. Who funds or commissions your service?

Deaf START is part of the Sensory Service within the Complex Needs Service in Leeds City Council’s Children’s Services Department. It is a fully traded service and is fundedsolely by the income it generates in providing its services.

Compliments and complaints are dealt with through the City Council’s published compliments and complaints processes. Initial compliments and complaints can be sent by email to or write to: Tony Bowyer, Sensory Service Lead, Adams Court, Kildare Terrace, Leeds, LS12 1DB

SignVideo BSL Live
To make it easier for Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users to access Council services, we have teamed up with SignVideo to provide SignVideo Web Access Points​ at some of our One Stop Centres and SignVideo Web Access to enable people to use this service from their own home.​

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