Today (Monday 18 March), the National Deaf Children’s Society has published a report showing that specialist teachers for deaf children are battling stress, spiralling workloads and excessive hours, as their numbers fall.
Responding, James Bowen, Director of Policy for school leaders’ union NAHT, says: “Specialist teachers are a lifeline for children with special educational needs, and for their families, offering not just education but desperately needed support and advice in all areas, from the moment of diagnosis.
“If the number of specialist teachers is falling, that means vulnerable children not receiving support when they need it and being left to fend for themselves. Getting support in place early for deaf children is essential and without it, they will almost certainly not achieve their potential.
“The picture facing schools supporting children with all special educational needs is bleak. Not only are school budgets at breaking point, there have been severe cuts to local authority health and social care provision. NAHT’s recent Empty Promises report showed that 94% of schools are finding it harder to resource the support required to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities than they did two years ago.
"We desperately need more funding for education, as well as health and social care services, and a focus on teacher recruitment and retention. All the government’s good intentions and warm words on SEND will count for little if there are not the professionals in place to deliver the support for pupils when they need it.”
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