Education: Hearing Impairment

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th November 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that deaf children are able to be taught in environments which require the wearing of facemasks.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government continues to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term future of our children and young people and early years settings, schools, colleges and universities remain open.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes children and young people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment, or disability and people who are speaking, or providing assistance, to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate. These exemptions apply in education settings and may be particularly relevant to children and young people with hearing impairments.

We have published guidance on face coverings in education settings, which was updated on 5 November 2020. It includes that face coverings could have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should currently be avoided. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

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