By Steve Hayes 30/01 Updated: 09/02 12:14
CONCERNED parents of deaf children have launched a campaign against council cuts to teaching they say threaten their future.
The parents gathered in Stratford with representatives from the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) to launch the campaign against Warwickshire County Council cuts to funding for school assistance to some 100 deaf children in the county.
The cuts will affect children they deem are of 'lower need' and mean their schools will have to either foot the bill for teaching and assistantance or they will go without the help they need.
And parents, whose campaign is being backed by the NDCS, say they fear schools won't have the extra funds to buy specialist services in.
Emma Guest, mum of twin girls, Daisy and Melissa, aged five, who are both deaf, says the girls have already lost support from a specialist teaching assistant and she is concerned they will lose visits from their teacher of the deaf.
She said: "Without all the specialist support that Daisy and Melissa have received, they would not be where they are now.
"If the support is taken away, my daughters will fall behind at school. I’m appalled that the council is putting their future at risk."
More than 1,000 signatures were collected as the campaign was launched opposite the RST on Saturday (January 28).
Jo Campion, of NDCS, said the charity was urgently calling on the council to reverse the cuts.
She said deaf children consistently under-perform in the classroom and warned the cuts would jeopardise their future even further.
The charity also accused the council of keeping parents in the dark on the changes, with some parents only finding out about the situation after support for their deaf children was withdrawn.
It will be charging schools to provide specialist support for deaf pupils with 'lower levels of need' - which is 100 out of 230 deaf children in Warwickshire.
A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson insisted it has to focus resources on those who have the 'highest needs'.
They 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.
"We are to meet shortly with representatives from the National Deaf Children's Society to discuss with them our provision and are monitoring carefully any impact of changes to our support arrangements."
Visit www.ndcs.org.uk/warwickshire to find out more about the campaign or sign the petition.
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