OUR LETTER IN RESPONSE TO THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED 10th January IN THE GUARDIAN:

“Your article – Educational support for deaf children “in disarray” 8 January 2018 – reflects the emphasis on the shortage of teachers of deaf children in the 2017 survey in England by the Consortium for Research in Deaf Education (CRIDE).

The Deaf Ex-Mainstreamers Group is a deaf-led organisation of users of the deaf education system.  Its findings since 1994 are that all children with hearing loss require British Sign Language (BSL) in addition to hearing aids and cochlear implants for their overall wellbeing. CRIDE reports a 9% decrease in the number of other specialist support staff working with deaf children in England in 251 resource provisions in local authorities.

The UN Committee on the rights of persons with disabilities said of the UK that it was concerned about the “insufficient resources for the education and training of sign language interpreters and the insufficient availability of….. sign language interpreters” and the “lack of training and education for families, classmates and co-workers in….sign language communication”.

The low standard of BSL and English bilingualism in education urgently needs to be addressed in a British Sign Language Act.

Jill Jones, Chair, Deaf Ex-Mainstreamers Group.

NB – obviously the letter had to be edited – we would have liked Article 21: 46 (b) of the UN Committee’s report to the UK government to be printed in full. The UN Committee has taken account of DEX’s Shadow Report and BSL language planning study we submitted to the UN, so our views have been added :

“The insufficient resources for the education and training of sign language interpreters and the insufficient availability of and access to high-quality educated sign language interpreters, especially in relation to education, employment, health and leisure activities; (c) The lack of training and education for families, classmates and co-workers in high-quality sign language communication in order to better provide for the inclusion within the community of deaf persons and hard of hearing persons.”