Getting ready for the party: final preparations for the party conferences

The party conference beckon ever closer. And like all good parties, I have been spending absolutely ages getting ready for it – though without the prospect of having a sausage on a stick to nibble on at the end of it.

I find myself nervously wondering if the party will go well. But we’re quietly optimistic. For the Liberal Democrat party conference, we’re doing a little experiment by inviting MPs to meet with a local young deaf girl called Laura. At the time of writing, ten MPs, including some senior Liberal Democrat bigwigs, have signed up to hear more about some of the experiences that deaf children face directly from a deaf child herself. One MP can make a powerful difference for us in the Houses of Parliament. So, with ten, we may even be able to change the world for deaf children and do ourselves out of a job.

As well as looking up biographies of all the MPs we’re meeting and sorting out logistical arrangements, we’ve also been thinking carefully about some of the points we’re going to impress on MPs. We want to tailor our messages around the particular interests of the MP but we’re also definitely going to be banging on about NDCS’s campaign to close the gap in attainment between deaf children and their hearing peers and our campaign report Must do better!. Three priority areas for us will be:

* Phonics and deaf children: getting the message out that phonics are inappropriate to many deaf children.

* Specialist support: the lack of skilled staff available to support deaf children in many parts of the UK.

* The need for better data on how deaf children are doing in schools at a local level.

At the risk of sounding like a self-important hyperactive TV news journalist, I’ll be blogging from the party conferences at the heart of the action, giving you regular updates on the top events. So look out for that next week as we head down to the seaside in Bournemouth.

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