NDCS statement on the Education Bill 2011
27 January 2011
The coalition Government has announced its plans to change the law on education in England in a new Education Bill. This follows a White Paper published late last year on proposals for reform. NDCS has set out its initial response to some of the proposed changes.
NDCS is calling on the Secretary of State for Education to ensure there are adequate numbers of Teachers of the Deaf in England.
Evidence shows that specialist Teachers of the Deaf play a vital role in ensuring that deaf children can achieve their educational potential. However, research for NDCS’s Hands up for help! campaign has shown wide variations in the number of deaf children that each visiting Teacher of the Deaf is able to support. In some areas, each visiting Teacher of the Deaf is working with over 100 deaf children. Figures also suggest that many Teachers of the Deaf are close to the age of retirement. This situation can only worsen if local authorities make cuts to help for deaf children.
The Bill transfers overall responsibility for teacher training from the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) to the Secretary of State for Education. NDCS wants the Secretary of State to use his new powers to make sure deaf children have fair access to Teachers of the Deaf, no matter where they live.
NDCS is seeking reassurance that funding for specialist support services for children under the age of 2 will be protected.
NDCS welcomes the proposal in the Bill to extend free early years provision for children under the age of 2 for certain groups of children and looks forward to seeing more details of how this will be taken forward. Early years support for families is vital for deaf children to be able to acquire language and develop communication at the same rate as other children. NDCS is concerned that in some areas, early years support for deaf children is under threat of cuts.
The Bill confirms that Ofsted will continue to be required to specifically report on the progress of children with special educational needs and disabilities. NDCS welcomes this step, and hopes that Ofsted will continue to improve how it provides information to parents on provision for deaf children.
Hands up for help!
NDCS is disappointed that a number of recommendations made by NDCS’s Hands up for help! report are not being taken forward by the Bill. With the Special Educational Needs Green Paper postponed, this means that major education reforms are being taken forward without any apparent consideration of the impact on children with special educational needs. As set out in the report, NDCS is calling on the Government to take a number of key steps, including:
- Local authorities should join forces across a region to ensure that deaf children receive comprehensive support, no matter where they live or their individual needs. We believe that too many small local authorities are trying to meet the diverse needs of deaf children in their area, and failing.
- Improvements to the information that local authorities are required to provide to parents of deaf children about provision in their area. Many parents of deaf children report difficulties in being able to access information about the services provided by the local authority and provision available for deaf children in their area.
Have your say
MPs will have their first debate on the Bill on the 8th February. NDCS will be briefing MPs on how the Bill will affect deaf children.
If you have any views on the Bill's proposals or how you think they will affect your deaf child, let us know by leaving a comment below or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was updated on 8th February 2011
NDCS briefing on the Education Bill (59 kb) (last updated: 8th February 2011)
Education Bill (external website)