Following the recent coverage on educational support for deaf children and young people in Southampton, I want to take this opportunity to restate Southampton City Council’s commitment to this service.
Most importantly there has been no cut in the service this year. Nor is there any question of the service being axed – and therefore in need of being ‘saved’.
In fact, we have plans to increase provision in the new school year.
The 165 children and their families who accessed the service last year will receive the same service this year if they need it. If there was any question at all of any child not getting the support they needed and were entitled to we would act immediately.
It should be made clear that the ratio quoted by the National Society for Deaf Children (NSDC) of specialist teachers to children in no way takes into account the quality of the service available to children and young people with hearing impairments in Southampton – as well as the excellent support available to their families.
Reports have neglected to mention the support the council provides which is above and beyond anything offered by many other councils. As well as the Specialist Teacher Adviser Team, the council continues to fund additional provision at a number of schools, in addition to funding a specialist technician to support this provision across the city.
Of course this is a highly emotive subject and sometimes facts can get lost in all the noise – and the most important fact is that we are not cutting this service. Every deaf child who needs help will get that help.
I have said all along that I would welcome the NSDC to Southampton, to show them the service we provide – including the extra support that we offer – and hear any views they have on the specifics of our service.
The council’s goal is that Southampton is seen as a city with learning at its heart, achieving excellence in education for all our children and young people, whatever their needs.