Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke council deaf service cuts halted by High Court

The High Court has ordered Stoke-on-Trent City Council to halt plans to cut educational support for deaf children.

The court is considering a legal challenge by the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) for the council to reverse its cuts plan.

The NDCS has applied for a judicial review of the authority's proposals which will be decided on 12 September.

The city council was planning to cut some teachers who visit and support deaf children in classrooms.

It was also planning to change the criteria which determined the support children got.

'Reckless decision'

A spokesman for the council said it would not comment on the ruling until next week.

The High Court has ruled the council is unable to make any changes until the court has considered the NDCS application.

The charity said the council wanted to reduce the number of teachers of the deaf by one next week, meaning a reduction from six to three in less than two years.

The NDCS has called the plans "reckless" and claimed it would leave three teachers to cover more than 200 children.

It said the council is in breach of the law by failing to properly assess the impact the cuts would have on deaf children and by bringing in changes that risk putting deaf children at an even greater disadvantage.

Jo Campion, NDCS deputy director of policy and campaigns, said: "The High Court's decision will be a relief to parents of deaf children in Stoke who have been in a constant state of uncertainty about their children's future for months.

"Deaf children across the country are being left behind in the classroom and particularly in this case the council's decisions to make cuts have been reckless.

"It is great news that the High Court has recognised the need to urgently protect these deaf children whilst it considers whether the case should be granted a judicial review."

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