To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
(1) what guidance is issued to local education authorities on the provision of signing assistance in schools for children with hearing impairments;
(2) what assessment he has made of the educational achievement of (a) deaf and (b) hearing impaired children in each of the last five years.
There is no specific guidance issued to local authorities on the provision of signing assistance in schools for children with hearing impairments, however the SEN statutory framework and the SEN code of practice should ensure that all children with special needs have those needs identified and assessed and receive appropriate support.
It is for local authorities to determine what provision they make for children with special educational needs, including children with hearing impairment, taking into account the needs of the individual child, parental preference and local circumstances.
Parents of deaf and hearing impaired children with a statement of special educational needs, are able to express a preference for the maintained school they would like their children to attend based on the communication approaches offered by different schools—auditory-oral, total communication and sign bilingualism.
We do not routinely make a separate assessment of the educational achievement of children with hearing impairment. All pupils both with and without SEN are assessed at the end of key stages of learning and pupils with a statement of SEN have their needs reviewed annually. We are currently in discussion with deaf and hearing impairment organisations about improving the availability of school attainment data for this group of pupils.