Campaigning for deaf children at the Conservative party conference: day 1

The party conference travelling circus has now dropped us off in Birmingham where we’re now busy stalking Conservative MPs, campaigning for deaf children. And we’ve now been joined by Megan, a deaf 15 year old, who has popped along to tell MPs about her own experiences of education and explain why she’s supporting the National Deaf Children’s Society Hands up for help! campaign.

And our first day has gone pretty well. We’ve managed to hit two of our top Tory targets. Firstly, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education (and the one with a deaf sister), who got a quick briefing about some of our concerns on academies and acoustics. He was receptive, positive and promised to nag his officials for answers to our questions. And secondly, Graham Stuart MP, who is chair of the influential Education Committee which holds the Department of Education and Ofsted to account. His words of advice to the Government was that they should “just chill and get it right”. Pretty good advice, I would say.

At the end of the day, I caught up with Megan to find out how she was surviving the conference. Here’s what she had to say:

For those that don’t know, where are you and why are you here?
I’m at the Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham as a guest for NDCS, discussing my experiences with MPs with the aim of reducing cuts which would directly impact the education of deaf individuals.

Planning the day ahead at the Conservative party conference

How did the day start?
The day started at 7am, when I got up and dressed. Shortly after this, I retrieved my breakfast-in-a-bag from outside my door. We then gathered downstairs and ate, before Jess and I headed off to a discussion about climate change I particularly wanted to attend.

What did you do throughout the day?
Over the course of the day, I attended a few more discussions mostly about education. These were very intriguing and I now have a better idea of the Conservative stance on education, as well as the opinions of some of the other speakers.

How did the meetings with the MPs go? What did they learn from you?
In my opinion, the meetings with MPs were successful. I found the individuals to be diverse, some being more humorous than others. I would like to believe that the MPs left the meetings with a greater understanding and that deaf children would be taken into greater consideration when they do decide where cuts should be made.

What do you think so far of the Conservative party conference?
I think the conference is certainly interesting, different. In some ways it reminds me of a school playground, with everyone milling around in a hectic manner. I think the issues which are raised will now have a greater chance of being considered and I believe the conference reminds attendees of the many problems with the world.

How are you feeling now?
Somewhat tired, but I certainly found the experience, thus far, to be great. I doubt it’ll be one I forget any time soon.

What’s happening tomorrow? Are you looking forward to it?
Tomorrow, I have some more meetings, and yes, I am looking forward to it; hopefully, I learn something new.

Very excited to see what Megan gets up to tomorrow. Will be back again then for another update on the last day of conference campaigning for deaf children.

PS If you can’t wait until then, don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter at @NDCS_UK.

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