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The SEND review in England

Photo: Teacher and deaf pupils in a classroom

The SEND review Green Paper sets out the Government's ideas to change the way children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are supported.

The needs of deaf children can be very different to those of other children with SEND – so it’s important that as many parents and carers of deaf children respond to the Government's plans to change the system.

Our blog has more detail about the SEND review and what we think it means.

The SEND review consultation

The consultation will be open until 11.45pm on Friday 22 July.

If you’d like to see the Government’s plans in detail, you can read the SEND review papers, or watch the sign language version.

We've created some guides to help you respond to the consultation, and pick out the areas where deaf children could be most impacted. You can download this as a word document. Or use our interactive guide to find the topics you're most interested in. 

When you're ready to respond to the consultation, you can use the Government's online consultation form (also available in sign language).

A few tips for filling out the consultation:

  • you don't have to respond to the whole consultation in one go (you can save your answers and come back later)
  • you don't have to answer all the questions
  • if you can, include your experiences as a parent of a deaf child, or a deaf adult
  • there's a question at the end of the consultation form where you can add anything else you want to say
  • in our guide, we've added our thoughts about the review - but what you think is the most important thing

SEND review webinars

We've held two online information sessions for families.

For the first session, we were joined by a speaker from the Department for Education. You can watch a video of the session here (with subtitles and British Sign Language translation).

Our second session was presented by us, and we talked about what we think the SEND review might mean for deaf children. Take a look at the presentation slides from the session here

If you have any questions about the SEND review, just email us at [email protected]

What else can you do?

Our briefing explains the five key changes that we want to see for deaf children in the SEND review. Can you email your MP to share it with them?

One of the things we want to see is more Teachers of the Deaf – and more money for local deaf education services. Could you write to your local papers about this? Local media can help put pressure on decision-makers. 

We're also calling for better deaf awareness at schools and colleges. Our Young People's Advisory Board (YAB) have launched a petition asking for mandatory deaf awareness training for all teachers. Can you add your name?

What we want to see in the SEND review.

The SEND system should work for all deaf children, no matter where they live in England. To make this happen we want:

  1. More Teachers of the Deaf and more money for specialist education services.
  2. Deaf awareness to be included in all Initial Teacher Training.
  3. Mandatory involvement of Teachers of the Deaf in progress checks for all deaf children at age two.
  4. The Government to set out expectations for reasonable adjustments for disabled children in education under the Equality Act.
  5. Stronger guidance and specialist careers advice with links to employment schemes.

There has been a 17% decline in Teachers of the Deaf since 2011, with many deaf children not getting enough support as a result. The SEND review must prioritise more funding for Teachers of the Deaf & specialist support services.

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Teachers of the Deaf & specialist education services

Since 2011, there has been a drop of 17% in numbers of Teachers of the Deaf. And many of you have been telling us that your child isn’t getting enough help from their Teachers of the Deaf at home or at school.

Urgent action is needed to recruit and train more Teachers of the Deaf. That’s why we’re asking the Government to introduce a bursary scheme to train Teachers of the Deaf – and to put a strategy in place to increase the number of specialist SEND professionals.

Deaf awareness in Initial Teacher Training

Over half of teachers will teach a deaf child during their career. Yet, when we surveyed more than 5,000 teachers in July 2021:

  • 68% of them said that they were not confident they can teach deaf children effectively
  • 96% of teachers said that they would need ongoing support from an expert, such as a Teacher of the Deaf, if teaching a deaf child.
  • and, only 3% of teachers felt Initial Teacher Training gave them the information they needed to meet a deaf child’s needs.
Photo: Results from our survey with more than 5,000 teachers

Our Young People's Advisory Board (YAB) have launched a petition asking the Government to introduce compulsory deaf awareness training for all teachers. 

Teachers of the Deaf & age two progress checks

Only one third of local services say that Teachers of the Deaf are involved in progress checks at age two for deaf children. But their expert involvement can be crucial, for example when assessing language development.

We want to see the mandatory involvement of Teachers of the Deaf in these progress checks. This will help identify any gaps in support and ensure early years settings know what they need to do to make sure deaf children are ‘school-ready’.

Reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act

Around 78% of school-aged deaf children go to mainstream schools where they may be the only deaf child. Lots of deaf children and young people tell us that their teachers don’t know enough about deaf awareness…

Reasonable adjustments should be put in place for every deaf child that needs them, when they need them. A strong focus on Equality Act duties should be built into the SEND system – and the Government should clearly set out its expectations for reasonable adjustments for every deaf child and young person in education.

Careers advice

Only 12% of deaf young people aged 15 – 18 we spoke to told us that they had received careers advice that was tailored to their needs.

There’s a real risk that this lack of tailored support will affect deaf young people's confidence and limit the choices they make.

45% of deaf young people told us that they hadn't been provided with support by their school or college to help them think about choices for the future.

The SEND review should make sure that every deaf child and young person receives specialist careers advice – with links to work-based training opportunities and info about employment schemes, eg. Access to Work and Jobcentre Plus programmes.