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The GDCSP Team

Dr Malcolm Garner

Malcolm qualified as a teacher of the deaf in 1972 and after working as a teacher of the deaf in schools in Birmingham and Bristol, then opening a unit for deaf children at a secondary school in North Bristol, was appointed as Deputy Head of Longwill School for the Deaf in Birmingham. Three years later he returned to Bristol as Head of External Services for Deaf Children, a post he held for eight years.

He then moved to Staffordshire and was Head of Education Services for Deaf and Visually Impaired children for thirteen years, qualifying as an OFSTED Inspector during this period. Finally, after a short period as Director of the Ear Foundation, he became Head of the Specialist Support Service in Birmingham which included teams dealing with deaf and visually impaired children, another for children with autism, and also a pre-school team for children with learning difficulties and other disabilities.

He retired from full time work in 2007 and has continued as an independent consultant, notably as a Quality Assurance Consultant for the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme. He has also sat on a number of Government working parties (e.g. the Lamb Enquiry of 2009) and has recently undertaken several reviews of educational provision for deaf children in parts of the UK (eg. Bristol, Knowsley, Hull) and also in The Maldives! He gained a Ph.D. at Birmingham University in 1988, specialising on the educational and social experience of pupils with hearing impairment, visual impairment or physical disability who were integrated into mainstream schools and supported by specialist 'units' within their schools.

Malcolm has three grown up children and one grandson, and now lives in Bewdley in Worcestershire.

Debra York

Debra qualified as a Biology teacher in 1973 and subsequently qualified as a teacher of the Deaf in 1977. She worked in schools for deaf children in Manchester (alongside Ruth) before moving to Staffordshire (where she met Malcolm) in1988 to take up a new post establishing a service to post-16 students.

This role expanded and the post-16 service was renamed Staffordshire ASSIST. ASSIST provided support in colleges, university and community settings to students who were deaf or visually impaired and, later on, to students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. After several changes of role within Staffordshire she was appointed Head of Service in 2001 where she remained until her retirement in August 2010.

Debra was also an active committee member of NATED (National Association of Tertiary Education of the Deaf) for many years. NATED campaigned to improve access and opportunities for deaf students. In recognition of this work Debra was made a fellow of NATED in 2006.

Since retiring she has 'kept her hand in" with some sessional work with ASSIST and a regular slot on the fostering panel. Debra’s husband Mike is Principal of the de Ferrers Academy (formerly a specialist technology school) based in Burton on Trent. The school has raised funds each year to support the work of GDCSP.

Debra has one grown up daughter and one grand-daughter, and lives near Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire

Ruth LeLohe

After studying Psychology at Manchester University Ruth qualified as a teacher of the Deaf in 1978 and started teaching at Whitebrook School for the Deaf in Manchester, where she met her good friend Debra York – also a member of the GDCSP Team. Following reorganisation of provision in Manchester she worked at Newbrook School/Service for the Hearing Impaired as a peripatetic Teacher of the Deaf, working across all key stages.

In 1986 she completed a Masters Degree in Audiology and then worked as Senior Educational Audiologist and team leader in the Manchester Service. In 1991 she completed a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and was then seconded to work as a School Improvement Officer (Special Needs) for Manchester Education Authority where she gained further experience as a trainer.
In 2003 she was appointed as Head Teacher of the Sensory Support Service in Stockport where she currently works.

Ruth has two children and one grandchild and lives in Stockport.

Babs Day

Babs trained as a special needs teacher in Nottingham in 1975, working first in a Secondary school for pupils with severe difficulties Bedfordshire. She then took a posting with Voluntary Service Overseas in a ‘project’ in Jamaica, West Indies, developing a new school for children with learning difficulties.

Since becoming a Teacher of the Deaf in 1980, she has worked with all ages and abilities of deaf children. After a first Headship in a mainstream Junior School she returned to Longwill Special School in Birmingham as Head Teacher in 2005.

Babs has always sought to innovate especially in the area of literacy and sign bilingual education and has led the school and her staff into research and excellent practice, being recognised by OFSTED as an outstanding school in 2007 and 2010

She has always maintained a strong interest in travel and education of Deaf children overseas and so was delighted to be invited to play a part in the Gambia Deaf Children's Support Project, creating a real two-way partnership between Longwill School in Birmingham, and St John's School, Banjul.