As you may remember, I wrote a letter to Nadhim Zahawi, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, calling on him to meet with the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) to discuss the funding of deaf children’s education, amongst other issues.
I have now received a reply from Mr Zahawi, and posted it below:
I am deeply disappointed with this reply. At no point in his letter does the Minister state how much money is going towards deaf children’s education or address the fact that Councils are having to cut their funding for deaf children’s education due to budget cuts from central government.
Instead, the Minister has detailed special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND) spending, which does include spending on deaf children’s education, but also includes countless other areas of public spending.
It was also disappointing that Mr Zahawi did not agree to meet with the NDCS to discuss their concerns about the future of deaf children’s education.
Instead, the Minister said that officials would ‘explore’ the findings of the government’s review into the resources and training available to schools to support pupils with SEND, with the NDCS, as part of the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP).
So, the Minister won’t meet the NDCS, instead sending some unnamed officials; the review has already been conducted, with no input from the NDCS, and the review was into SEND, not specifically into deaf children’s education. They are simply expected to ‘explore’ these findings with the officials, not to have a say over them; and these discussions will be with the NatSIP, of which the NDCS is but one member. This is a far cry from the NDCS’s original demand, which was to discuss the issues affecting deaf children’s education with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families.
Needless to say that I am not satisfied with this response, which is why I have submitted a written parliamentary question to the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, asking him whether any Minister in his department is willing to meet the NDCS and address their concerns.
I can assure that I will continue to pursue this issue with the Minister, until he agrees to meet with the NDCS and addresses their concerns.