A second consulation that I’ve been working on is the Children and Young People’s Workforce paper. This is the Department for Children’s Schools and Families (DCSF)’s attempt to set out its long term strategy on the workforce in all aspects. It has attracted attention for recommending the creation of a social care workforce taskforce, following the Baby P tragedy.
It was a well written and clear consultation (unlike others I’ve been working on). The key point that we’re making in our draft response is that DCSF should move away from treating children who are vulnerable or who have additional needs as a homogenuous group and to think more carefully about how it can ensure that the workforce can meet the needs of ALL children including, of course, deaf children.
As part of this, we recommended that DCSF focus on training for mainstream teachers. I still can’t quite believe that at the moment – apparently – new teachers only spend one morning in a four year course on looking at the needs of children with special educational needs. No wonder so many teachers feel like they don’t know what to do when a deaf child enters their classroom.
And for staff who work in a specialist role, we spoke about different specific parts of the workforce that work with deaf children. For example, we highlighted the evidence that too many communication support workers are working to interpret the curriculum for deaf children without a proper qualification in sign language. NDCS’s position is that this is unethical and that there needs to be a Government programme to recruit more communication support workers – and ensure that they have the right qualifications.
We also talked about the need to address other specialist areas of the workforce, including teachers of deaf children, speech and language therapists, special educational needs co-ordinators and social workers for deaf children. All in the space of ten pages. Phew.
We’ve put our on the NDCS website to allow our members and professionals to take a look and let us know what they think – and we welcome any thoughts you might have too. Have a look and let us know what you think too.