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One teacher for 142 deaf children in Bexley

PUBLISHED: 17:59 15 September 2010

Brian Gale

Brian Gale

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Deaf children in the borough are having the worst start in life as a report shows it has the highest pupil to teacher ratio with 142 kids to every one.

The first report of its kind called Hands up for Help, published by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) on Friday probed the levels hired by councils across the country of visiting specialists called teachers of the deaf who help school age and pre school children.

Bexley had the highest ratio at 142 children to each teacher highlighting the postcode lottery deaf children face after it was revealed that London as a whole had the lowest ratio at six to one.

Director of policy and campaigns at NDCS Brian Gale told the Times: “It is unacceptable that deaf children are missing out on vital support at school because of where they live.

“Deafness is not a learning disability yet too many deaf children are failing at school.

“It isn’t fair as it is also giving teachers an impossible workload.

“It is difficult to know why the ratio in Bexley is so high. The issue is that the council has decided to spend no more money across the service.

“It is possible that councillors were not aware how their service compared with other areas as this is the first report which has done this. This is the first time comparative research has been done. There has been quite a lot of ignorance about what is an acceptable level. They will be surprised to find out that they have the highest ratio.”

The report also revealed that found 71 per cent of deaf children across the country failed to reach grades A* to C at GCSE.

A meeting is due to be held with bosses at Bexley council and the borough’s branch of the DCS this month to discuss the service.

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: “The London Borough of Bexley currently has 39 pupils who have their needs met in specialist provision for hearing impaired children and there are 99 children with hearing impairments supported in mainstream schools and pre-school settings.

“All of these children have had their hearing needs assessed and support to the children in these schools and early years settings is provided by one advisory teacher for hearing impairment and two very qualified support staff working on the instruction of the advisory teacher.

“This is a total package of support that equates to a caseload of approximately 34 cases between the three staff in the advisory service for hearing impaired children.

“There were five students with statements of special educational needs for hearing impairments who all took GCSE’s - or equivalent - exams this summer achieving some excellent results. The five students achieved at total of 54 GCSE passes at A-G.”

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