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East Lancashire Charity, Braille IT, Partners With Liverpool's Open Awards To Launch New Braille Qualifications

Updated: Feb 20

East Lancashire Charity, Braille IT, Partners With The Liverpool City Region's Open Awards To Launch New Braille Qualifications

Formal accreditation by Open Awards gives the qualifications Ofqual recognition, meaning they can be delivered by other charities and educational establishments around the country (Credit: Supplied/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).
Formal accreditation by Open Awards gives the qualifications Ofqual recognition, meaning they can be delivered by other charities and educational establishments around the country (Credit: Supplied/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).

Braille courses developed by an East Lancashire charity have been launched nationwide thanks to a new partnership with a Liverpool-based awarding body.


East Lancashire-based Braille IT has worked with Liverpool’s Open Awards to launch three innovative new qualifications based around learning and teaching braille.


Braille IT was founded by Chris Tattersall, who began learning braille in 1997 after being registered blind at the age of 40.

"The charity has done so much to support visually impaired people and their families in East Lancashire, and this partnership means their expertise in braille can be accessed by a nationwide audience.” - Open Awards Chief Executive Heather Akehurst OBE.

Chris Tattersall, said: 'Braille has opened so many doors for me. It’s been a chain reaction, and lots of steps forward that have led to working with Open Awards and launching these qualifications.'


He said: 'This opens up opportunities for more people to access the qualifications and puts them on a national level.'


Chris added: 'Once you start with braille it doesn’t end - you can carry on learning and improving forever.'


Formal accreditation by Open Awards gives the qualifications Ofqual recognition, meaning they can be delivered by other charities and educational establishments around the country.

Formal accreditation by Open Awards gives the qualifications Ofqual recognition, meaning they can be delivered by other charities and educational establishments around the country (Credit: Supplied/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).
Formal accreditation by Open Awards gives the qualifications Ofqual recognition, meaning they can be delivered by other charities and educational establishments around the country (Credit: Supplied/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).

Open Awards Chief Executive Heather Akehurst OBE said: “Open Awards is delighted to have worked with Chris and the team at Braille IT to launch these qualifications."


Heather added: “The charity has done so much to support visually impaired people and their families in East Lancashire, and this partnership means their expertise in braille can be accessed by a nationwide audience.”


Launched in 2006, Braille IT offers free braille classes in Blackburn, Clitheroe, Burnley and Accrington. Classes are accessed by people who wish to learn braille due their own visual impairments, or sighted people including family members and teachers learning braille to support others.


Design of the three new courses is based on programmes developed by the charity in collaboration with Open Awards.


Two qualifications cover the production and use of braille content, while the third programme qualifies students to support the teaching of braille.


Students can complete the qualifications in person, or receive materials by post to study via distance learning.


Open Awards administrator Annette Summers was among a group from the awarding body who attended a taster session for the new courses.


Annette Summers, said: 'As someone with a visual impairment, I was excited to hear about this new qualification.'


She said: 'I had an amazing time learning all about braille and having a go at learning the alphabet in braille. I was so fascinated by it that I have now become a learner too. It really was such an inspirational and informative time.'


Development of the courses has also been supported by St Vincent’s School in Liverpool, which specialises in supporting students with sensory impairment and other needs.


Deputy Principal David Swanston, said: 'Open Awards approached us and asked if our braille team could have a look at the programme developed by Braille IT and verify the suitability of the course content and how it is delivered.'


He added: 'It’s nice to have another provider making braille more accessible, and we’ll continue to support Braille IT to ensure that the course is robust.'


He said: 'Where we can lend expertise we will do in the best interests of learners and staff - ultimately it’s about allowing more people to have more access to braille.'

Formal accreditation by Open Awards gives the qualifications Ofqual recognition, meaning they can be delivered by other charities and educational establishments around the country (Credit: Supplied/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).
Formal accreditation by Open Awards gives the qualifications Ofqual recognition, meaning they can be delivered by other charities and educational establishments around the country (Credit: Supplied/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).

The work of Braille IT is assisted by volunteers and Alison Hargreaves - a volunteer of 20 years and now Project Manager - who supports the day-to-day running of the charity and successfully secured Lottery funding to sustain its activities.


Alison Hargreaves, said: “Everything that Braille IT has achieved so far is down to Chris, with his teaching skills and enthusiasm.


She added: “Chris has worked really hard for 20 years to make these qualifications possible.”


The Courses

Open Awards and Braille IT have worked together to develop three new courses:

  1. Level 1 Award in Use and Production of Unified English Braille.

  2. Level 2 Certificate in Use and Production of Unified English Braille.

  3. Level 3 Certificate in Supporting the Teaching of Unified English Braille.


Braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired. It can be read either on embossed paper or by using refreshable braille displays that connect to computers and stand alone devices.


The system was invented in France in 1824 by Louis Braille, who lost his sight as a result of a childhood accident.


The courses are designed around Unified English Braille, which was adopted as the official UK code for braille in 2011.


The Organisations Involved

Braille IT was launched in 2000 and became a registered charity in 2006. The charity won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary service in 2016. For more information visit Braille IT's website.


Open Awards is an Awarding Organisation providing Ofqual-regulated qualifications and units across a range of sectors, QAA Access to Higher Education Diplomas, and bespoke quality endorsed units and flexible learning solutions. Its qualifications and units are used across a range of education settings including Further Education, schools, sixth-form colleges, prisons, private training providers and third sector organisations. For more information, visit Open Awards' website.


St Vincent’s School in Liverpool specialises in supporting students with sensory impairment and other needs. The school has specialised in the education and care of children with a visual impairment since it opened in 1850. For more information visit St Vincent’s website.

1 Comment


Guest
Feb 10

An interesting read 👍

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