Council U-turn on cut to deaf children’s education
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has made a significant U-turn on plans to cut vital services for deaf children, in the face of a High Court legal challenge by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).
This U-turn means the council can no longer show disregard for proper legal processes. In light of this result, the charity is urging other councils to follow the law and listen to parents’ concerns to protect support for the UK’s 45,000 deaf children.
In response to NDCS’s High Court legal challenge, Stoke City Council has signed a consent order, quashing their decision to cut another Teacher of the Deaf, which would have left just three visiting Teachers of the Deaf supporting Stoke’s 200 deaf children.
Brian Gale, NDCS Director of Policy and Campaigns said: “This is a landmark decision for deaf children. NDCS used legal action as a last resort because the Council ignored the concerns of parents for almost a year. It should not be necessary to take legal action to ensure the voices of parents are heard. We are pleased that the Council is now willing to work alongside NDCS and parents in Stoke to ensure that deaf children reach their full potential.”
“This landmark case reminds councils of their legal obligation and shows the importance of consulting parents of deaf children. We’re urging councils to work with us, in partnership with parents to ensure that deaf children get the support they need to learn.
“It’s crucial that parents across the UK contact us if they experience any reduction in the service their deaf child receives. We can support them, using legal means if necessary, in ensuring that councils fulfill their duty to provide the support deaf children need to learn.”
In May 2011, NDCS launched the Save Services for Deaf Children Campaign, after investigations showed almost one in five councils across England had cut educational support for deaf children.
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