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

The travelling circus has now moved to Birmingham where the Conservatives are finishing off the party conference season. As we’re still knackered from the last two and as we have a busy day tomorrow, we took today a bit easy – but still managed to go along to two fringe meetings and meet some of our fellow charity campaigners on the travelling circus to see what they’re up to.

Our first fringe meeting was on the role of schools in promoting well-being in children, an issue we’re likely to be looking at in more detail in the near future in relation to deaf children. There was a lot of discussion about the well-being needs of children with special educational needs. I came dangerously close to becoming an angry deaf man when one man, a school governor, suggested that the needs of children with special educational needs shouldn’t overshadow a focus on the needs of gifted children. My immediate thought was that many children with special educational needs would be gifted if they had the right support and focus on their needs! It was a disconcerting point of view to hear. On the plus side, after the meeting, we managed to persuade a leading MP to come and visit a school for deaf children. And the hamburgers served up during the meeting were quite nice.

Later on, we went to the Every Disabled Child Matters fringe meeting. They’re campaiging on disabled children having more places to go and play – and have produced a very excellent video of disabled children talking about their own experiences and frustrations. It had a powerful impact, and reminded me that campaigns tend to pack a more powerful punch when it gives a voice to the people directly impacted.

A packed day tomorrow, and lots of MPs to stalk. Watch this space.