Specialist teachers for deaf children are battling stress, spiralling workloads and excessive hours as the system falls into crisis, the National Deaf Children’s Society has warned. FE News reports.
The warning comes after a survey of more than 600 specialist teachers, carried out by the charity and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, revealed that almost half (46%) experience stress in their role on a weekly basis, with a quarter (25%) affected every single day.
More than four in five (87%) are now working additional hours due to increasing workloads, with almost two thirds of those (63%) forced to work an extra day every week just to keep up.
The National Deaf Children’s Society says the entire profession is creaking under growing pressures and increasing needs despite the Government’s major special educational needs reforms in 2014, with grave knock-on effects for the 45,000 deaf children who rely on it.
Six in ten teachers surveyed (58%) said there was less support available for deaf children than in 2014, while almost half (43%) felt that pupils were now performing worse. Two thirds (69%) said that deaf education in their area didn’t receive adequate funding.
The National Deaf Children’s Society says the number of specialist teachers has fallen by 15% in the last seven years across England. In addition, the charity says the profession is heading towards a staffing crisis, with more than half of those teachers still in the role due to retire in the next 10-15 years.
Susan Daniels OBE, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Damian Hinds and Nadhim Zahawi have continually promised every child a world class education and there are some very cost-effective measures that would help achieve it, including a Teacher of the Deaf bursary.
“We are urging them both to look at the mounting evidence, acknowledge the growing crisis and throw deaf children a lifeline before it’s too late.”
Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, said: “This is yet further evidence of the immense pressures and strains councils and schools continue to face supporting children who are deaf and partially deaf as well as other pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.
“Councils know that deafness can make life incredibly difficult for some children who experience it, and are doing all they can to help them get the education they deserve.
“However councils are reaching the point where the money is simply not there to keep up with demand, pushing support for children with SEND to a tipping point.”
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