History of ABSLTA
History of ABSLTA from 1989 to present
ABSLTA – The Association of British Sign Language Tutors
ABSLT – The Association of British Sign Language Tutors – was formed at the instigation of the BDA in April 1989 – prior to that there was no organisation or group to co-ordinate issues relating to the teaching of BSL and the tutors who taught it.
Liz Scott-Gibson was the BDA’s Education Officer at that time and she arranged an open meeting at Doncaster College in April 1989, with the view to setting up an Association of BSL tutors who could share experiences and support each other.
It became apparent at that meeting that it would not be easy to set up such an Association so a “steering committee” was elected to draw up some basic rules and draft a constitution. Melinda Napier, who was until recently chairperson of ABSLT, was on the steering committee and remained on the official committee until she stepped down as chairperson in 2014 – 25 years.
A draft constitution
After many meetings of the steering committee another open meeting was called in November 1989 at Birmingham Deaf Club at which an Executive Committee was formed and a draft constitution presented for approval as follows.
First “official” Annual General Meeting
In November 1990 the Association’s first “official” Annual General Meeting was held at Manchester Deaf Club but owing to a problem with the Constitution the meeting was adjourned to a later date.
The name of the Association was originally “The Association of British Sign Language Tutors” but in 2006 the word ‘Assessors’ was added to the title and in 2014 the word ‘Tutors’ was changed to ‘Teachers’ to reflect the professional qualifications of members
The aims of the Association are to promote and safeguard the interests of, and provide advice and information to members.
The objects of the Association are to:
3.1 Act as a co-ordinating body between Sign Language tutors throughout the U.K.
3.2 Promote Sign Language Tutor Training.
3.3 Promote the adoption of professional standards among Sign Language Tutors.