Posted by Ian Noon on June 25, 2009
Back in February 2008, Malcolm Bruce MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness in Westminster, asked Gordon Brown during Prime Minister’s Questions about support for sign language users. Fast forward to today and a consortium of deaf organisations were formally launching the I-sign project and celebrating £800,000 of investment from the Department for Children, Schools and Families to undergo work to raise the status of sign language in England.
I think the i-sign project is a really important and innovative project. It’s been going since early this year and brings together various strands of work which different organisations are leading on, including NDCS, BDA, Signature, RNID and others. NDCS is leading on developing a family sign language website to help families of deaf children learn useful signs for engaging with their deaf child. And we’re taking a close interest in the work being undertaken by Signature to develop a qualifications framework for communication support workers. It’s a two year project with ambitions to become self-sustaining. It’s quite refreshing to see different deaf organisations joining forces in this way.
The new Minister for special educational needs, Diana Johnson came along to the event to lend her support and meet some families of deaf children. She was quoted as saying:
“Overcoming the communication barriers experienced by deaf children is key to ensuring they get the best education possible. The Government is committed to providing parents and the school workforce the communication support they need to ensure deaf children fulfil their potential. I am delighted that we are funding such an innovative and exciting project. Developing qualifications for teachers and providing interactive materials for parents to learn sign language will help deaf children communicate effectively both at home and at school.”
And our deaf work experience student, Paul, ended up giving a short speech in front of the Minister about his own experiences growing up as a sign language user. Probably not what he expected when he joined NDCS for the summer – but we like to keep our interns on their toes…
Overall, a good day for deaf children.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: British Sign Language, BSL, communication, DCSF, deaf children, Department for Children Schools and Families, Diana Johnson, family sign language, I sign, Malcolm Bruce, NDCS | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ian Noon on June 15, 2009
For political geeks like me, the last two weeks have been fascinating. How many Ministers would abandon ship? Would we have a new Prime Minister? Would the Government just implode and leave a massive cleaning bill behind?
Well, now the dust has settled, we can see who is left standing. And once again, the musical chairs reshuffle of Government Ministers means we have a few new faces in NDCS’s key departments of interest.
Perhaps the key one is at the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Sarah McCarthy-Fry, who was the lead Minister responsible for special educational needs, has gone. Replacing her is Diana Johnson. Who, to be honest, I don’t know very much about though I need to find out quickly.
I can see the rationale for fresh blood. But it has been less than a year since the last injection of fresh blood. And now we have a period of uncertainty as we wait for the new Minister to get up to speed. And we have also have to start again with briefing the new Minister with details of NDCS, what we’re about and what we’d like from the Government. Just like we did less than a year ago. It’s like a Governmental Groundhog Day.
Perhaps the biggest pain of all is that a meeting between ministers at DCSF and the Department for Communities and Local Government that was due to take place next week and at which we were hoping to make a breakthrough on our acoustics campaign has now been postponed. The biggest irony of all? The two ministers in question have swapped over to each other’s departments.
Obviously, Government shouldn’t be run according to what’s convenient to campaigners like me. But I can’t help thinking, does this annual rejuvenation make for good Government? I’m not so sure.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: DCSF, Diana Johnson, minister, reshuffle, Sarah McCarthy-Fry, SEN, special educational needs | Leave a Comment »