Well, it’s been a week since I help the National Deaf Children’s Society launch the Hands up for help! campaign report. In that time:
* Over 250 people have contacted their MP in support of the campaign
* It’s been plastered all over BBC London news, reaching millions of viewers
* Over 200 people have joined the Facebook fanpage for the campaign
* Lots of people have also leaving details of their own experiences of help for deaf children on NDCS’s interactive map
* Over 300 people have downloaded the campaign report
The campaign’s key message – that every deaf child deserves a fair chance at school – seems to have hit a chord, among a wide range of people, which is great to see.
So what next? The report makes four recommendations for action and NDCS is going to be lobbying MPs, Ministers, Peers, councillors, local authority decision makers, anyone who will listen, to get them to take action.
The first recommendation is probably the most important. It says:
The Government must ensure adequate funding for specialist support services so all deaf children have a fair chance at school, no matter where they live.
The context behind this isn’t hard to see. We know that massive spending cuts on the way. In the past, local authority budgets have been hit hard. And with deafness being a low incidence, “invisible” disability, budgets for specialist support services have often been seen as an easy target. Anecdotally, there is evidence of vacancies for Teachers of the Deaf being frozen and of loads of local authorities exploring the scope for cuts through SEN “reviews”.
So now NDCS is going to have to make sure deafness isn’t “invisible” in discussions around budget cuts across England.
Have you come across any cuts to services for deaf children where you live? If so, leave a comment below or email NDCS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll blog about the campaign report’s other recommendations over the next few weeks.