Campaigns - Wales
We want to see deaf children in Wales get the education, health and family support services they deserve, among many other areas. Find out more about our campaigns.
At the moment, many deaf children receive a Statement or an Individual Education Plan to outline the support they need at school. But from September 2021, a new law will start to take effect.
All children and young people with additional learning needs will have a different plan instead, called an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The plans will be available to those aged 0-16 and to those aged 16-25 who are in further education.
About the reforms
We've created a Q&A factsheet on the reforms. Some of the details may change as the Welsh Government is still developing the regulations and the details of how the new systems and structures will work in practice. As such, this fact-sheet will be updated from time to time. Please check back for the latest information. (Last updated October 2019).
The National Deaf Children's Society Cymru has been campaigning on this new law over the past few years. We are pleased that during this time, the Welsh Government has taken a number of steps to address some of our key concerns. However, there are still a number of issues that we need the Welsh Government to address as it writes guidance on the new systems. This includes making sure that the new support plans cover key information and that learners with additional needs get appropriate careers advice.
We would like to say a big thank you to more than 270 National Deaf Children's Society Cymru campaigners who took an online action to help us flag these important issues.
Please do keep a look out for other opportunities to help our campaign in the near future!
When will the system change?
This autumn, the Welsh Government announced that it was delaying the introduction of the new system until September 2021 in order to give local authorities and schools more time to prepare and for the Welsh Government to redraft guidelines.
We're aware that some local authorities are already using IDPs. It is important families understand that they still have the right to request a statement as this continues to be the legal document at present.
Get in touch
If you would like more information or have any concerns about the changes, please get in touch at [email protected].
You can also contact our Helpline for support and advice on your child's support plan.
Growing up deaf in a hearing world can pose challenges to emotional well-being. Evidence suggests that deaf children are more likely to experience emotional health problems.
That is why the National Deaf Children's Society Cymru has successfully worked with key professionals and the Welsh Government to create care pathways for deaf children and young people requiring mental health support in Wales. Every NHS health board in Wales has now identified a clinical lead for deafness in child and adolescent mental health services and training for NHS staff is under way.
In 2010, we worked with the Welsh Government and Action on Hearing Loss Cymru (then RNID Cymru) to produce guidance on ensuring school counselling services are accessible to deaf pupils.
The guidance forms part of the Welsh Assembly Government and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) School-based Counselling Operating Toolkit and was distributed to school counsellors throughout Wales.
Download the guidance:
Statistics show significant attainment gaps between deaf pupils and their peers at every Key Stage.
The National Deaf Children's Society Cymru recognises that much hard work is being done to support deaf children in their studies, but more action is needed.
During Deaf Awareness Week 2013, we submitted a petition to the Welsh Assembly's Petitions Committee, calling for a national strategy to close the gap in educational attainment for deaf children and young people. The petition has opened doors for us and, earlier this year, we met with the Cabinet Secretary for Education to discuss what further action is required to close the gap.
What is the gap?
This document contains data on the educational attainment of deaf children in Wales for Key Stages 1 to 4.
It demonstrates significant attainment gaps between deaf pupils and their peers at every Key Stage. We need to close the gap!
Our petition highlighted a number of barriers that are preventing deaf children and young people from reaching their full educational potential in Wales.
It was accompanied by a video in which the experts - deaf children and young people themselves - outline the key issues that matter to them. They identified four key issues:
- we need appropriate support in school and college
- we need all classrooms to have good acoustics
- some of us use sign language: help us encourage our hearing peers and teachers to learn sign
- we need more teachers and pupils to be deaf aware.
Watch our videos below (Welsh and English language):
Close the Gap - Welsh language
Watch our campaign video in Welsh:
Close the Gap - English language
Watch our Close the Gap campaigns video:
The Welsh Government acknowledged British Sign Language as an official language in its own right in January 2004. But still, access to learning the language can be difficult.
Deaf young people on our UK advisory board told us they wanted more opportunities for people to learn sign. This is why the National Deaf Children's Society Cymru worked with the WJEC and deaf young people in Wales to create a fingerspelling community challenge within the Foundation Level Welsh Baccalaureate.
In a survey of 202 deaf and hearing young people, aged 8-25 in Wales, 82% said they would like a BSL GCSE. In response, we have sought support for a GCSE in BSL from Assembly Members across all political parties. Qualifications Wales have told us a GCSE created in England could be replicated in Wales. So our Right to Sign campaign in England could have an effect in Wales too. We will keep you posted!
Our UK-wide Youth Advisory Board has chosen to make support for deaf young people aged 16 and above a campaigning priority. This is a key time for many young people, who are making tough decisions about careers, further education and moving towards independence. It is important that deaf young people are well supported in making these transitions.
Over the past year, the National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru has:
- Secured a place on a Welsh Government advisory group to discuss the development of an action plan on disabled access to apprenticeships in Wales
- Agreed to work with the NTFW to make Welsh Government apprenticeship providers aware of deaf access issues in the workplace
- Consulted with deaf young people on the post-16 section of the Welsh Government’s new Additional Learning Needs Code of Practice. This document will outline what professionals need to do to support learners with additional needs.
- Set up a meeting between our Wales Youth Advisory Board members and Careers Wales to discuss how careers advice services could be improved for deaf young people.
We are PIP'd Off! Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the new welfare benefit slowly replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people over 16. Deaf young people are finding it almost impossible to qualify for PIP because assessors do not understand the barriers which deaf young people face.
Just a few of the problems...
- PIP assessment reports show that too often the people carrying out PIP assessments assume that if a deaf young person has hearing aids or cochlear implant(s), they will have ‘normal’ hearing.
- Assessments are undertaken in near perfect listening conditions, which do not replicate real life situations such as dark or noisy environments with many people speaking.
- Assessors have no knowledge of the impact of being deaf on daily activities such as communicating and taking part in group discussions.
- There is a focus on the use of the telephone, with deaf young people often being called about their claim.
What are we doing?
- Calling on the UK Government to halt the rollout of the benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP) until it is fully accessible to all deaf young people.
- Lobbying the Department for Work and Pensions to improve the guidance for assessors.
- Working with assessment providers Atos and Capita to try to improve deaf awareness and knowledge of the issues deaf young people may face.
What can you do?
Tell us about your experience. We need to know how deaf young people are finding the PIP application process. This will help us to lobby the government and the companies carrying out assessments. Please contact our campaign team in Wales.