Monday, 10 January 2011

Letter to Michael Gove MP

Michael Gove’s appearance on the Today Programme about the reading deficit in eleven-year-old boys sparked a flurry of activity at BATA HQ. I dashed off a quick letter to Mr Gove while Ian Litterick (Iansyst) coordinated our literacy panel to produce a full press release before the close of business that day.

Read all about it on Merlin John Online.

Baroness Walmsley is BATA patron

I’m delighted to report that Lady Walmsley accepted our invitation to become BATA’s first patron. It was a collaboration with Lady Walmsley which led to the lively meeting on the Terrace of the House of Lords which I believe gave rise to the Bercow Report and all that has followed. We are delighted to have her continuing help. Lady Walmsley will be introducing Jean Gross at the AGM.

Jean Gross at BATA AGM

The evening of Thursday 13th will be the hot ticket at BETT and the Fringe. After brief formal business, our first AGM is to be addressed by the Communication Champion, Jean Gross. Then the full Champagne Reception, sponsored by Texthelp, and a chance to catch up after an eventful year.

Download the full programme here.

We need a slight change to the BATA Articles of Association and I have attached the formal notice. While we have always been able to co-opt additional members to the Council the total number of council members has not been allowed to exceed nine and this is getting in our way a bit (this year, for instance, we would like Deborah Goodbody of ACE and Trish Davison of CENMAC to join us and represent the not-for-profit sector).

At the meeting, our Articles say, we need 75% of the full members present to support this change.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Assurance sought from Gove on Home Access SEN

MP spares Home Access Funds

A month ago Martin Littler wrote a letter to Michael Gove MP, the Education Secretary, in his capacity as Chair of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA). He asked him to spare the final tranche of funding of the for the Home Access Scheme – this is the money earmarked for learners with Special Needs who face the greatest challenges in getting online.

Result! Michael Gove has just replied guaranteeing that these learners will be included. This is remarkable given the threatened 25% cuts in his Department’s budget.
This is an early win for BATA whose first aim is to ensure that learners who need special help are included in all future government ICT initiatives.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

OBE for special needs and technology expert Chris Stevens

Our very own Conference Organiser, Chris Stevens, received an OBE in the Honours list at the weekend. Chris was head of Inclusion Policy at Becta from 1996 until 2009. He led the special needs team through several re-organisations and changes of leadership and was respected for his honesty and integrity.

During his tenure, the special needs team worked on many high profile developments including Senco Forum, the CAP Project and the Home Access Project as well as smaller schemes of work such as art and mental health, Community Languages and ESOL.

Chris's own particular specialism was children and young people with severe learning difficulties and he drew widely on his experience as head of a special school so that work on policy was always informed by practice.

View the article in full

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Can you help or will you feel the heat of the Dragons' breath?

An annual Summer camp run by the Order of Malta will be held in the UK for the first time since it started over twenty years ago. The camp will be held at Bluestone holiday village in Wales from 10-17 July 2010.  There will be groups from 25 countries around the world (mostly Europe and including the UK) with over 20 people in each team - 10 helpers, 10 disabled guests and medical staff.  The guests are all young people aged approximately 18-30 and most of the helpers are young volunteers attached to the Order of Malta.        

One of the things that is increasingly important to the young people who take part is the internet cafe and the assistive technology to complement it. The range of disabilities is very large but the Order hope to have a good range of technologies in place; screen readers, laser pointers, adapted mice and keyboards, mice cradleholders and also additional kit so that games can be played on the computers too.

This is where BATA Members can help. The Order are a charity and pay for everything for the foreign teams from the moment they arrive in the UK so ideally they would be able to get this sort of equipment on loan or for free. Can you help them?

Another idea is a ' Dragons Den' afternoon.  Manufacturers can come down to the camp in Wales with their new technology and demonstrate their kit.  Our guests would be able to try it out and then score the technology at the end of the session; a great test lab for companies in this field. Are you a manufacturer or do you know of any manufacturers who may be interested?

For more information please get in touch with Communication & International Liaison at the Order:

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The BATA launch event at Olympia Hilton on Thursday 14th January

The BATA launch event at Olympia Hilton on Thursday 14th January, with Vernon Coaker MP as guest speaker, was a resounding success. Here are some images from the day (click on a thumbnail to view)...