Making deaf children matter

Musings and blogs from a deaf campaigner

Conservatives sets out education plans… but what does it mean for deaf children?

Posted by Ian Noon on January 19, 2010

Image courtesy of www.conservatives.comThe Conservative party launched their draft manifesto on education yesterday. It’s not very long and makes for very interesting reading for those wondering what a Conservative government might mean for deaf children and other children with special educational needs and disabilities.

One of the most interesting points for me, that hasn’t really been picked up by the media, is the line that says: “We will call a moratorium on the ideologically-driven closure of special schools and end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools.”

What this might mean in practice? Are we likely to see a trend of more schools for the deaf opening under a Conservative government? How will any ‘bias’ towards inclusion in mainstream schools be addresssed? Lots of food for thought…

If you’re interested, NDCS has issued a statement giving their initial response to the draft manifesto. What’s your response? Be interested to hear your thoughts on their proposals…

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2 Responses to “Conservatives sets out education plans… but what does it mean for deaf children?”

  1. MM said

    I’d prefer any inclusion only commences if full support is in place, at present deaf or disabled children are pushed into inclusive policy areas of education without the back up and then re-isolated in ‘special needs’ areas when it flops as most will. A lot of specialneeds classes are hopelessly unsuited to the variations of children with them, lacking teachers and support with expertise. Some manage a lot don’t ! My son went to THREE before I decided the inclusive policy was bull manure and seriously damaging my child’s education. I then withdrew him twice to force a confrontation taking on the LEA 8 times over 6 years as well, they fought to deny him support basically, now they had to take me to court or start listening. I got a spcial school placing instead ! I really wish I had pushed this a lot earlier, put had been blackmailed really as a deaf person myself, they said deaf couldn’t each their children to speak, and their were veiled threats too, not onlto me as a parent but ata special needs teacher who backed me up, who was told she faced the sack for supporting me, she wrote a lengthy letter of how specialneeds class was totally unsuitable for our child and her and her fellow tutors were not able to help our son. She was stillthreatened with a loss of job! Many parents face similar issues. My son was autstic, but, I don’t see an ‘;xplosion’ of deaf schools agin, I think they are finsished except for abour 20 or so, wales has none, hasn’t had for many years. You would not get the staff to run them, and of course things have moved on, many parents want their kids local with siblings etc and supported locally as a right, so any thoughts of setting up some deaf school again in the middle of some field miles away and residential is no longer a viable option. I’ve never thought there is any milage in re-establishing all that, the number of deaf is also less and cannot sustain large deaf schools, there are also many deaf children being implanted everything has changed. I think the tory rhetoric is right, but, a sound bite in their case, there are not the staff or the training going on to to do what they ask, first you must have the people to run a special school, and at present there are more ‘helpers’ than trained people because it is cheaper. Again helpers in mainstream my son had, had no idea what to do with him, they were baby sitters that’s all. Many disabled children and deaf are held back and many have lost YEARS of support they were entitled to when tjhey were assessed, it was just never implimented. You can teach a deaf child at home if you want to, the law says a child must have an education, it doesn’t say you have to go toa school to get that. It is said 48% of autistic parents would prefer that too. Who pays, that’s the issue ! I’d hire a pro teacher and pro support do it at home, would they pay for it ? I’d prefer alternative assessments too, I’m dubious the LEA system is honest.

  2. SI said

    MM’s story above is quite commonplace. Inclusion can and does work where there is the right combination of local authority staff and resources and willpower to make it happen. But all too often cash-strapped authorities and overstretched staff are compelled to focus on the majority at the expense of the majority. The conservative manifesto is a good step in the right direction of moving back towards a mixed portfolio of mainstream and special education, but as ever it will need ring-fenced resources to actually make it happen. Even so, the manifesto pledge creates an opportunity for us all to press them for more answers!

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