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New forum to review services for deaf and hearing impaired children
Release date: Thu, 16/06/2011
A new group has been set up to continue work to review educational services for deaf or hearing impaired children in Bristol, Bristol City Council announced today.
The Deaf and Hearing Impaired Development Group includes experts from health, education, social care and finance, as well as representatives from Elmfield School for the Deaf, hearing resource bases and the deaf community. It will help develop a strategy for educational provision for deaf and hearing impaired children in the city and work to resolve the future for Elmfield School for the Deaf.
In response to an independent report published last year, the council started an informal consultation about whether the needs of children currently attending Elmfield could be served by two specialist hearing impaired resource bases, one primary and one secondary, within mainstream schools. The development group will take account of this proposal as part of their recommendations for a new strategy for the city.
Executive Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Clare Campion-Smith, said: “With so many more children who are either deaf or have hearing difficulties attending mainstream schools, it is right that we draw on a broad range of expertise to work towards a co-ordinated strategy for educational provision for deaf children across the city.
“This new forum does not rule out big changes in the city’s provision, but it will ensure that a range of different experts and groups are actively involved in shaping plans. Recommendations are expected to take into account the sustainability of proposed models.”
Bristol City Council currently supports the education of 309 children from the city who are deaf or hearing impaired. Of these, nine attend Elmfield School for the Deaf, with the rest in mainstream schools or resource bases attached to mainstream schools.
Early work for the group will include identifying key strengths of current provision and areas for development. An update report will be discussed at a Children’s Services Scrutiny meeting in July, but this will not be a final set of recommendations. These are expected by the end of the year.