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Special Educational Needs: Hearing Impairment

Question for Department for Education

UIN 48391, tabled on 13 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the National Deaf Children's Society on (a) supporting Education, Health and Care plans and (b) ensuring teaching staff are supported to provide quality education to children who are deaf.

Answered on

21 September 2021

We seek to involve a broad range of stakeholders in the development, delivery and communication of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) policy.

This includes the SEND Review, which is looking at ways to make sure the SEND system is consistent, high quality, and integrated across education, health and care. The review has gathered views from a very wide range of partners, including parents and carers, children and young people, people and organisations working with and providing support to them, and system leaders. We are continuing to work with a range of partners to develop proposals for consultation as soon as possible.

More broadly, the department provides support to local authorities to meet their statutory responsibilities in relation to education, health and care plans (EHCPs). This includes delivering a training programme to local authorities, health, and social care staff on their statutory duties for EHCPs and reviews.

The department is also supporting teaching staff to provide effective support to children and young people with SEND, including those with sensory impairments. This includes the framework of core initial teacher training (ITT) content, published by the department in July 2016, which includes specific content on how ITT providers should equip teacher trainees to support pupils with SEND.

The performance of all teachers in maintained schools must be assessed every year against the Teachers' Standards which sets out that teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs, and that they must be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.

Alongside this, through our contract with the National Association for Special Educational Needs, the department has funded the Whole School SEND consortium to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all children and young people with SEND, including specialist resources in relation to sensory impairments. The funding in the 2021-22 financial year will bring the total funding for this contract to over £8 million since 2018.

Finally, to teach a class of hearing or vision impaired pupils, qualified teachers must hold, or be working towards completing, the mandatory qualification for children with hearing or vision impairments that has been approved by the Secretary of State for Education. This is set out in the School Teachers' Qualifications Regulations 2003, Section 6: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/1662/pdfs/uksi_20031662_en.pdf.