Bristol local authority has said they are thinking about closing Elmfield School for Deaf Children and replacing it with two resource bases for deaf children within mainstream schools.
Here are my top 5 reasons for why I personally think this is nuts.
1) It will reduce choice for deaf children in Bristol and across the area, especially for those who want a bilingual approach to learning. Every deaf child is different and a range of provision is needed to meet their needs.
2) The authority has rejected the findings from an independent external review of deaf provision in Bristol which said the school should stay open.
3) The law requires the authority to show that by closing Elmfield School, it will improve things for deaf children. So far, they haven’t. So far, they haven’t even identified where one of the new resource bases is going to be!
4) The school has been graded by Ofsted as “good” and “improving”.
5) Most importantly, it will cause massive upheaval to deaf children and their parents. Deaf children deserve better.
The threatened closure will also provide the first real test of the coalition Government’s commitment to preventing the unnecessary closure of special schools. Will they intervene?
Overall, I think Bristol has some explaining to do….
PS Here’s NDCS’s official statement. The school will be campaigning actively on this and NDCS will be working to support parents on this.