What will 2011 bring for my work as a campaigns officer for deaf children? Last year, the general election meant that it was impossible to predict anything with any certainty. This year, I’m tempted to have a shot. Here are three predictions from me.
1) Acoustics in schools is going to come back on the agenda. At the end of 2009, the National Deaf Children’s Society won a big campaign victory on acoustics. However, this year we are expecting the Department for Education to come up with a new strategy for how it builds new schools, whilst the Department for Communities and Local Government is revamping Building Regulations. Both could potentially result weaken, rather than strengthen, standards on acoustics. If they do, the Sounds good? campaign may be making a return.
2) The cuts are coming. Last year, the Government announced the cuts it would be making to overall budgets. This year, the impact will start to be felt and we are likely to see some heavy cuts in many parts of the UK. Much of my time this year is going to be spent working with parents to fight the cuts to help for deaf children.
3) The special educational needs debate goes out of the box. The Department for Education is publishing its policy ideas on special educational needs. This year. Probably. It’s already been postponed twice. Assuming they do see the light of day, we can expect to see some quite radical proposals. Personal budgets for children with special educational needs is rumoured to be one of the proposals coming out. Some MPs think that the Government might go further and ditch the whole statementing system. It will certainly be interesting at the very least.
Do you have any other predictions for the year ahead in campaigning for deaf children? Leave a comment below to share them.