Teacher funding cut plan

FAMILIES of deaf children are fighting Kirklees Council plans to cut teaching support by more than a third.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has exposed plans to reduce the number of Teachers for the Deaf in the district.

It says the staff give vital support to more than 230 children, helping with reading and language development.

Regional director Alison Lawson said: “These children and their families need more support not less.

“But these cuts are ignoring the individual needs of deaf children, threatening their speech and language development, educational attainment, aspirations and well being – ultimately setting them up to fail.”

Concerned parents have started a petition against the plans. They must collect 3,000 names by Tuesday to force a full council debate.

Kirklees Deaf Children’s Society chairwoman Jayne Fenton said it would not have been possible for her children to go to mainstream schools without the support of a Teacher for the Deaf.

“If a child has potential they should be nurtured and supported to realise this potential,” she said. “If there’s not a Teacher of the Deaf to keep pushing for this, I think bright deaf children will be forgotten.”

But a council spokesman said staffing levels would still comfortably meet the needs of children with hearing impairments in Kirklees.

He said: “The support and teaching for children with a hearing impairment has always been of a high standard, and this will continue.

“The number of Teachers of the Deaf is being reduced by 3.8 posts because demand has fallen. It is logical – and the best use of resources.”

He said there would be no job losses from its Special Education Needs team and the changes would allow some staff to move into specialist areas with higher demand.

l Visit http://epetition.kirklees.public-i.tv/epetition_core/view/deafcuts to add your support.