Dr Tyron Woolfe

Address: 3 Greenhill Terrace, London SE18 4BP


Personal Profile: Passionate about working with people and leading projects and services that have a real focus, I have always given diligence to numerous work and voluntary roles. 

Key Skills:

  • Strategic Connectivity and Leadership. 
  • Participatory skills; continually enabling a “nothing about us without us” approach
  • A wide understanding of the diverse lived-experiences of children, young people and adults who experience being marginalised; deaf, disabled, LGBTQ+.
  • Academic research and hence an analytical approach to complex issues.  I am able to objectively look at the interpretation and application of research data. 
  • A real champion for mental wellbeing.

Looking for:

To transfer the knowledge and skills acquired over the last two decades towards greater opportunities for and with marginalised groups.

Employment History:

Research Fellow at University College London April 6 – current

  • Currently responsible for a 5yr Welcome funded research study into the importance of Visual Communication input and Reading Development. 
  • Recruitment of 120 deaf children and 250 hearing children over two years for this longitudinal study.
  • Assessment battery of tests to measure key skills that may demonstrate the role of visual input. 
  • Wider duties across UCL as a post doctoral academic.

Executive Director (maternity cover) at Deafinitely Theatre, a National Portfolio Organisation funded by Arts Council England.  12/2020 – 03/22.

      • Responsible for the strategic and operational effectiveness of this amazing theatre company. 
      • Successful funding of circa £350k received insofar from efforts to date especially during COVID-19 pandemic.  
      • Departure from physical office to full remote working achieved.
      • This role included a lot of work with funders e.g. Arts Council England, Garfield Weston and Greater London Authority.
      • Responsibilities to the Board of Trustees, HMRC, Charity Commission and Companies House.
    • Currently focused on 2022-23 planning and effective handover too 

Intersections Fund Development Officer (short contract) at Consortium 02/2021 – 05/2021

  • I was responsible for both the analysis and collection of useful information from over 400 groups in the LGBT+ sector who experience Intersectionality/ies.  This information was used to inform a forthcoming significantly funded project with the National Lottery, launching in January 2021.

Project Manager at  UK Deaf Sport 01/2020-12/2020

    • In this fixed role I was managing a two-year project funded by Comic Relief which aimed to achieve both mental well-being and social integration in deaf people in London through Sports and Physical Activity participation.  I gave this role a lot of initiative and diligence especially given the challenges of COVID-19 since March 2020.
  • Achieved significant changes to the project original plans via giving continuous mentoring and support to 17 individual trainers/instructors to deliver activities to approximately 370 deaf people via online delivery; surpassing the original targets set.  The variety in the work as well as accountability to the Board of Trustees and funders was excellent, utilising case studies and both qualitative and quantitative measures too.

Research Assistant at Deafness Cognition and Language, University College London, 05/2019 – 09/2019

  • Recruited 44 older deaf people who may have Mild Cognitive Impairment for the purpose of gathering research data to lead to a diagnostic tool via Artificial Intelligence. Travelled excessively and filmed each person for 30mins. Fixed term contract completed with all targets exceeded.

Travelled Latin America including volunteering in Bolivia with young deaf people 07/2018-03/2019

Deputy Director Children, Young People and Partnership Services at National Deaf Children’s Society 05/2007- 07/2018

  • Strategic and operational leadership for the charity on all issues relating to NDCS’ direct service provision for deaf children and young people in the UK.


    • Numerous short courses run by National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and several others; Safer Recruitment, Child Protection, Designated Safeguarding, Online safety etc (various training dates over 11yr).  These enabled a robust and safe delivery of operational events with deaf children and young people.

Management and Leadership:

    • Non-direct leadership with 20 staff members (managers and officers) who report to both Heads of department.  These staff members were based all over the UK, including some home-workers.
    • Two Heads of Departments (Participation and Events), including supervision, goal-setting, report monitoring, strategic planning, and interpersonal motivation.
    • Creation of a Children and Young People’s brand for NDCS in order so that beneficiaries saw the charity’s commitment to them, as well as its relevance too.

User engagement: 

    • Carried out the largest ever consultation with deaf children and young people across the UK, asking them what they wanted the charity to do for them. This became an internal report document and informed the fundamental principles of a Youth Strategy

Change Leadership:

Overseeing and supporting a challenging organisational change from a 64-year old parents’ charity to a child-centred one via:

    • Development of a robust Youth Strategy to achieve a meaningful child-centred organisation that raised expectations and gave numerous deaf children and young people opportunities to develop their social capital and achieve wide milestones.
    • Development of a Volunteering Strategy to enable young deaf people to have opportunities to do more.
    • Development and implementation of clear strands to deliver key milestones against our youth strategy; Information and Advice, a new website, training and development, extended activities to include deaf children, CYP programme (Arts, Sports and Leisure), Participation and governance.
    • Writing/development of key-related policies around the involvement of deaf children and young people
    • Alignment of key strategic aims along with national government strategies, e.g. Aiming High, Integrated Youth Support Services, National Citizenship Service
    • Establishing a Participation Unit with to deliver our strategic change.
    • Working with external and internal colleagues, both in the voluntary and statutory sector to enhance the lives of deaf children and young people.
    • Full involvement with all senior management decisions with other deputy directors.
    • Budget planning, fundraising applications, monitoring and management
    • Increasing provision from 454 places a year to beneficiaries, to 2,600.

Post-doctoral research assistant at the Dept Human Communication Science, University College London, 01/2005 – 05/2007

Investigated 0-3yr. deaf children’s developmental outcomes.

Travelled Asia for six months, 09/2004- 01/2005

High Executive Officer 11/2003-06/2004

(Faststream scheme –  for more details) at Department of Education and Skills 

High Executive Officer 12/2002 – 11/2003

(Faststream scheme –  for more details) at Department of Work and Pensions

Research further

During my time as a PhD student I was also employed as a temporary research assistant to work on other sign language related projects; University of Sheffield – Imitation & Visual Perception; University College London – Iconicity and City University, British Sign Language Receptive Skills Test


Oct 1999 – 2002

University of Sheffield

Phd: Theory of Mind and Sibling Relationships in Deaf Children

Funded by a fee-waiver; the Wingate Foundation and the Lord Snowdon Award

Supervisors: Prof. Michael Siegal and Dr. Stephen Want

Examiners: Dr. Mark Blades and Prof. Charlie Lewis

Using past research and current debate on the development of a Theory of Mind, I designed a variety of experiments to investigate the importance of early language exposure in two groups of children, namely native and late signers.  I also looked into the importance of communication with siblings.  This involved a lot of commitment and travelling to reach out to specific children and using specific stimuli that prevented using language modality as a potential barrier itself.  This research resulted in two first authored publications.

Sept 1996 – June 1999

BSc (Hons). Psychology: Goldsmith’s College, University of London, Degree Class 2(i)

Other Qualifications:

  • Child Protection Designated Safeguarding Officer course, Safe CIC, March 2021
  • Safer Recruitment, Safe CIC, Sept 2021
  • Impact Measurement and Management, In Focus, August 2020
  • Change Leadership, Directory of Social Change, 2016
  • Leadership Development, FPM (in partnership with Children’s Workforce Development Council and Children’s Workforce Network), March 2010
  • NSPCC Child Protection Awareness Programme, Educare, May 2010
  • Remote Management, Envision, September 2009
  • Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 2006
  • Neil O’Connor Award, the British Psychological Society – Developmental Section: A research award in developmental disability, 2002
  • Millennium Awards Fellowship, 2002
  • Federation of Deaf People, Youth Award, 2000
  • CACDP (now Signature) British Sign Language Stage 2, June 1999

Volunteer Work (including Trusteeships):

SHOUT Crisis Volunteer – the UK’s first free, confidential, 24/7 text support service – June 2020 to date.

Chairperson – Deaf Rainbow UK – 2018 – Dec 2021. Stood down to give others an opportunity.

Respite Carer – to a young deaf boy for 5years under Southwark Family Link Services.

Co-ordinator, Sheffield Befriending Project for Deaf Children.  I developed and go funding for a project for deaf children in the local area of Sheffield to meet up with deaf young role models on a fortnightly basis and developed positive identities – 2001- 03.

Co-ordinator, British Deaf Association Youth Exchanges.  These exchanges involved a lot of responsibility, organisation, planning as well as the importance of learning foreign sign languages.  I have always communicated well with foreign deaf counterparts who use sign language – 1995-2002

Counsellor, Camp America – worked with adults with developmental disabilities, and the year before, with children and young people.  Some were deaf and sign language users – 1998 and 1997.

Deaf Rainbow UK, Chairperson (July 2018- December 21)

Greenwich University Students Union, Trustee (2020 – 21)

Royal Association of the Deaf: Trustee (2012-15)

SignHealth: Trustee (2002-12)

British Deaf Association: Trustee (2002-06)


Woolfe, T., Herman, R.C. and Roy, P. (2010)  Early vocabulary development in deaf native signers: a British Sign Language adaptation of the communicative development inventories, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, March 51, (3) 322-21.

Woolfe, T., Young, A. (2007) Deafness, Deaf People and Genetics, Bioethics

Woolfe, T., Want, S., & Siegal, M. (2003) Siblings, conversation, and theory of mind in deaf native signing children, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 340-347.

Woolfe, T., Want, S., & Siegal, M. (2002). Signposts to development: Theory of mind in deaf children.  Child Development, 73, 768-778.

Woolfe, T., & Smith, P. K. (2001). The self-esteem and cohesion to family members of deaf children in relation to the hearing status of their parents and siblings, Deafness and Education International, 3, 80-96.

References available on request