The figures, obtained by the National Deaf Children’s Society through Freedom of Information requests, show that deaf children will be losing £4million of support this year, with 45 councils cutting on average 10% from specialist services.Emma Bishop from the West Midlands is worried about her 11-year-old son’s future, as over the last two years Thomas has had all of his specialist Teacher of the Deaf support cut by Walsall Council and they will be cutting deaf children services again this year.
“My son needs to get that extra support at school,” she said. “Like the vast majority of parents of deaf children, we had no experience of deafness before Thomas was born, and as a family we rely so much on our support from the council. It’s absolutely appalling that cuts like this can be made when they are a complete lifeline to deaf children like Thomas. All we want for him is to have a future like every other child.”
Sarah Waling from Blackpool is also concerned that her daughter Jessica is losing the support she relies on at school, as Blackpool Council have proposed big budget cuts to their department that supports deaf children – £86,000 this year.
“In some classes she’s at the back where she can’t even read the teachers lips, or hear what they’re saying. Jessica is struggling without specialist support, and I’m really worried about what we will do next.”
Speaking about why deaf children are losing so much support this year, Susan Daniels, the charity’s chief executive commented: “No one is in any doubt that this is a complex problem. We have rising numbers of children with special educational needs like deafness, but funding is not keeping pace with increasing demand. Ministers can talk until they are blue in the face about their reforms and record investment in the system, but as this data shows, that is a complete fantasy for deaf children who are facing huge cuts to their educational support.”
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