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What can you do if remote education isn’t accessible for your child?

Published Date: 12 Jan 2021
Photo: Remote learning can be a real struggle for young deaf people

It may be a new year but we haven’t left that much of 2020 behind. Unfortunately, schools and colleges have had to close and many parents are now juggling work and home schooling again. As well as being tough for parents, we know that remote learning can be a struggle for many deaf children and young people.

What you can expect

In England, there are higher expectations from the Government for remote learning this time around. The Secretary of State for Education says he expects schools to provide 3-5 hours of remote learning every day. Schools will also be expected to publish information about their remote education ‘offer’ by 25 January. Colleges will also be expected to provide remote learning and to publish a ‘remote learning offer’ on their websites by 18 January.

If parents feel their child’s school or college is not providing suitable remote education, they can report the matter to Ofsted. Concerns should be raised with the teacher or head teacher first though. If you do need to make a complaint to Ofsted you can do this anonymously.

Similarly, if you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you should also raise any issues with your child’s school or college.

There are also a number of schemes in place to provide laptops and internet data to children and young people, where needed. If this is an issue, you should speak to your child’s school or college about this.

Resources for you and your school

We have resources that can help you make the best of learning at home. We also have resources for schools which can help your child’s teacher to better understand deaf children’s needs.

If your child has a Teacher of the Deaf they may be able to support the school or college to make sure that any remote teaching is appropriate for your child. If your child doesn’t have a Teacher of the Deaf, the sensory support team at your local council might still be able to help. Get in touch with them if your child is finding remote learning difficult.

Back to school or college?

This time around, if your child is finding remote learning difficult, you can ask for them to go back to school or college. However, you (or your child) will want to check with the school or college first to find out what’s being offered and if specialist support will be available. It’s possible they may be doing the same remote lessons, just from school rather than at home. Each child is different, so make sure you speak to your school and your Teacher of the Deaf, if you have one, before making any decisions. If your child is 16 or over, their views must be taken into consideration.

Call out bad practice

The good news is that there are more resources for deaf children and young people this time around to support home learning. For example, the Oak National Academy have committed to subtitling all of the videos, and many are BSL interpreted.

If you see any resources online that aren’t accessible but that your child would like to use – then tell them! If you use Twitter, this can be an effective way of calling out bad practice very publicly. We have a new guide that covers the basics of making content accessible. The suggestions are easy and practical, so there’s really no excuse! Let us know which organisations you think need to up their game – we can join your calls for them to do more. You could also ask other parents to contact them and add weight to your argument.

Contact our helpline

As ever, if you need any information or advice, contact our helpline.


Beccy Forrow

Campaigning and Activism Lead
National Deaf Children's Society