Thousands back teacher petition

PEOPLE power has forced a debate on cuts to the number of teachers for deaf children in the district.

More than 4,000 people signed a petition by Kirklees Deaf Children’s Society, which is fighting plans to cut teaching support by more than a third.

The group needed 3,000 names to get the issue put on the agenda for the next full council on Wednesday.

National Deaf Children’s Society regional director Alison Lawson said: “The support for the petition in Kirklees shows how strongly local people feel about services that are being taken away from deaf children, and we are keen to discuss this at the council meeting.”

The society says the support given is vital in helping hundreds of deaf children with reading and language development, and their educations will suffer if the cuts go ahead.

Ms Lawson said: “We want to use the council debate to stress that the majority of deaf children in Kirklees – around 235 – rely on the outreach service, with their Teacher of the Deaf coming into their home or school to see them on a one-to-one basis. This is vital for them.

“If these cuts go ahead there will simply not be enough Teachers of the Deaf to be able to provide this support.”

But the council has insisted staffing levels will still comfortably meet the needs of children in Kirklees.

A spokesman said: “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.”