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Rapid education reforms threaten to leave deaf children without support

Posted Feb 02 2011 5:53pm

deaf child school.jpg
The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has expressed serious concerns that gaps in the government’s education reforms, announced today, threaten to leave deaf children without the vital support they need to achieve at school.

NDCS is raising the alarm after today’s education bill set out an accelerated expansion of the academies programme, without addressing essential funding arrangements that would safeguard the support that deaf children need. NDCS is calling on the Government to put adequate funding arrangements in place for deaf children to ensure they get the vital support they need.

NDCS is concerned that if funding for support for deaf children, such as Teachers of the Deaf and specialist equipment, is delegated to all academies it will be spread so thinly that individual schools won’t be able to afford the essential help that deaf children need. It may also see academies which have no deaf children needlessly receiving a share of that funding.

Last year the Government conceded that funding for support services was an issue they needed to address and a temporary bill amendment to protect the funding was made. This temporary amendment will cease in the spring, but the government has now confirmed that deaf children will have to wait another year for a solution.

Brian Gale, Director of Policy and Campaigns at NDCS, said: “While these reforms continue apace, we are concerned that deaf children, who are currently underachieving at school and need vital support, will be left in limbo.

“Without the right support, deaf children and young people are vulnerable to isolation, abuse, bullying, poor self-esteem and low levels of achievement. NDCS is calling on the Government to put adequate funding arrangements in place for deaf children to ensure they get the vital support they need,” said Mr Gale.

Parents who are concerned about education support for their deaf child can call the NDCS Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 880.

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