Aye the noo to Jan in Scotland

Well, I am now back from holidays. I have suffered the embarrassment of forgetting the security code for getting into the office after just 2 and a half weeks. I’ve also regaled everyone with stories of how I did nothing on a beach for a week. However, I’m still ploughing through my 421 emails, wondering if my colleagues are still in the pub a week after they first emailed me to ask me over.

As such, I’m not feeling terribly well-equipped to tell you what’s been going in NDCS campaigns – given that I’m not entirely sure myself – so I am calling on the ever helpful Jan Savage for assistance.

I sometimes forget myself, but apparently there is more to the UK than just England. Yes, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own governments and they all have their own quirky different ways of managing education and health. To make sure that the needs of deaf children are taken into account in the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly, NDCS has campaigns officers working away causing trouble in each of these places, leaving me to look after England and any UK wide issues.

Anyway, it’s Jan’s job to bang the drum for Scotland and to remind me now and again that England is not the centre of the world. I asked her recently what she’s been up to, and this is what she had to say:

“In Scotland, we’ve been campaigning for better early years support for deaf children and their families. Whilst there are areas in Scotland where the co-ordinated support provided is fantastic, there are other parts of the country where services are just not working as well together to get it right for every deaf child.

There is no national guidance for professionals working with deaf children and their families in the early years and this leads to wide local variations. In England, such guidance has been in place since 2003, and many of you will have seen, or may be using, the Early Support Family pack, otherwise known as the ‘Blue Box’.

The Scottish Government is due to publish its ten year early years strategy soon, and NDCS has been campaigning to ensure that it considers the needs of Scottish deaf children and their parents. A motion lodged in the Scottish Parliament by a senior MSP calls on the Government to take action, and has already attracted the cross party support of over a quarter of all MSPs. Those living in Scotland can find out if your MSP has signed up here.”

If you want to know more about how you can support Jan’s work on early years or elsewhere, then pop her an email at: jan.savage@ndcs.org.uk. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.

Elsewhere in the UK, Victoria Taylor looks after Northern Ireland. I will be pestering her soon for news from over there but in the meantime, if you want any information on our campaign work in Northern Ireland, you can also drop her a line at victoria.taylor@ndcs.org.uk. We’ll soon be interviewing for a Welsh counterpart so watch this space for more details of that.

Once I’ve caught up, I’ll be updating you on all that’s happened the past few weeks – including the follow up to our Must do better report and some fairly outrageous difficulties we’ve had recently over accessible examinations and Film 4. In the meantime, if you want to take advantage of my momentary confusion, please feel free to tell me what YOU think I should be working on in our campaign work to help deaf children in England.

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