Coventry & Warwickshire

Spending cuts 'may affect deaf pupils' in Warwickshire

Deaf children in Warwickshire may fall behind in school as a result of funding cuts, a charity says.

The county council has begun charging schools for specialist support for deaf pupils with "lower levels of need", a Freedom of Information request found.

The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS), which put in the request, fears the pupils' education will suffer as schools cannot afford the extra funds.

The council said it was carefully monitoring any impact of the changes.

NDCS and parents of some of the pupils have launched an online petition calling for the council to reverse the move.

The charity says the change affects 100 out of 230 deaf pupils in the county and means at least 63 schools will not receive additional funding for specialist staff.

'Highest needs'

Jo Campion, deputy director of policy and campaigns at NDCS, said: "The support that deaf children need in schools is not a luxury.

"This isn't an optional extra that you can just have when you want it - it's essential support that deaf children need in order to learn."

She said deaf children were already underachieving at school and said 74% in the region failed to get five good GCSES.

The council said it had to focus its resources on children and young people with the highest needs, whatever their need or disability.

"The council is committed to providing support to deaf children who are not yet in school and those in school with higher levels of need from the council's own resources in line with our statutory responsibilities," a spokesman said.

"It is the responsibility of schools to provide for children with lower levels of need and schools are developing their skills and expertise to do so with the opportunity to buy additional support from the council if required," he added.

The council said it was soon to meet NDCS representatives to discuss its provision, which it was closely monitoring.

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