Education for Deaf Children

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 18th June 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham 2:30 pm, 18th June 2012

What plans he has to improve the standard of national provision of education for profoundly deaf children.

Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather The Minister of State, Department for Education

Our reform of the special educational needs system will make it easier for deaf children and their families to get the full range of support they need across education, health and social care. Through the national scholarship programme, we are supporting teachers and teaching assistants to gain specialist qualifications to support deaf children. We are also working with expert voluntary organisations to improve the quality of information and advice available to schools and families.

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

My local authorities in Lincolnshire are continuing to invest in services for deaf children. However, the National Deaf Children’s Society reports that as many as one in four local authorities is cutting the vital services that deaf children rely on to achieve and succeed. Does my hon. Friend share my concern that too many local authorities are failing to protect funding in this area for some of our most vulnerable children, and what will she do about it?

Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather The Minister of State, Department for Education

I am aware of the NDCS report. I understand that the financial difficulties are making it hard for everybody across local and national government, and that all of us are having to make difficult decisions. However, the Government chose deliberately to protect the money for schools from the dedicated schools grant, so there is no excuse for wholesale cuts in this area. We are also supporting the national sensory impairment partnership—or NatSIP, as it is known—to work with local authorities to benchmark services and improve quality on the ground.