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Parliament: Cost of Deaf Education & Effectiveness of Appeals

A recent question was tabled in parliament around the cost of deaf education, and secondly the effectiveness of the appeal process.

Ian Gibson (Norwich North, Labour)

(1) what estimate he has made of the amount spent on the education of deaf children in Norfolk in each of the last five years;

(2) if he will assess the effectiveness of the process for (a) the education of deaf children and (b) the appeal process against allocation decisions.

Jim Knight (Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families)

The Department does not collect information on the amount spent on the education of particular groups of pupils with special educational needs (SEN).

[snip]

We do not make a separate assessment of the effectiveness of the education of deaf children.

[snip]

We have no plans to review the effectiveness of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST), which provides an independent and impartial appeal process against local authority decisions about the education of children with hearing impairments and other special educational needs. In the tribunal year 2005-06 the tribunal decided 31 cases in which hearing impairment was identified as the children's primary difficulty. The tribunal upheld 20 of 26 cases relating to school placement.

[snip]

Background

Any child who needs to have additional provision in terms of education in the UK, is assessed for Special Educational Needs (SEN) by the Local Education Authority (LEA). Deaf children will be included in this, if they want additional support. If a need is positively identified, then a statement is produced (renewed annually). This statement is a legal document, and there is an obligation to follow it. Within the statement, it sets out such things as how a child is to be educated. For example, if they should attend their local mainstream school, how many hours Teacher of the Deaf support they should get, or if they should attend a specialist school.

Right of Appeal

Sometimes parents might not agree with the statement, and they can ask the local authority to review this. Where a statement cannot be agreed upon, they can appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) to get the statement changed. However, going to a tribunal is a stressful and drawn out process, one which is best avaoided.

Examples of why appeals happen

One of the problems in the UK is around local authority bias, for example Leicester or Shropshire is traditionally known as having a strong oral bias, whereas Leeds swings towards BSL. Parents have been known to have to move, in order to get their children educated as they wish. Other issues are around the interpretation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA), where s.1 focuses on a duty to educate in a mainstream school. What happens if a mainstream school is inappropriate for this child, and the parents need to challenge such a decision?

Money also has an influence on provision, and this could have an effect what is provided and what is not.

Is the law in the UK currently a good one, and is it a good system?

There's obviously many questions, around this subject and many people will know that education is still very much a lottery. The government's lack of monitoring could be seen in their favour, to cover up shortcomings as to what is really happening.

The current law favouring inclusion was influenced by disabled people themselves, and formed the UNESCO Salamanca Statement 1994, which later filtered into domestic legislation. One of the problems is that disabled and deaf people do not share the same history as far as education goes: disabled people have traditionally been segregated, where as deaf people have been mainstreamed and a push towards 'integration'. Deaf people (children) have been clumped in with the wishes of disabled people, which might not have been entirely appropriate.

Ask the Readers:

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Sources:
Hansard Written Answers: 8 October 2008
They Work For You

See also:
Parliament: BSL in schools
Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children: what's the future?
The unofficial BDA Congress 2007 report

Comments (2)

"We do not make a separate assessment of the effectiveness of the education of deaf children."

UH? So who does?! Well, I suppose if you don't assess something, then you don't have to explain why it's crap, right? Stupid.

what a balls up - those political pillock are so bloody naive!!

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