U-Turn On Deaf Services

A decision to cut the number of teachers supporting 200 deaf children in Stoke-on-Trent to three, has been reversed, a charity has claimed.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) had threatened action in the High Court over the council’s plans to cut its services for deaf children in the borough.

The charity said an order had now been signed quashing the council’s decision to cut the number of teachers to three who would have served schools and families.  There was now no need to continue with its legal action, the NDCS said.

‘Landmark decision’

The council has said it will review its decision to cut educational support for deaf children.

Director of Policy and Campaigns at the charity, Brian Gale, said, “This is a landmark decision for the deaf children of Stoke.  [The charity] used legal action as a last resort because the council ignored the concerns of parents for almost a year.”

The council said it would not be commenting on the society’s claims.

Cabinet member for Children’s Services Councillor Debra Gratton has said, “This year’s budget was the toughest the council has ever had to deliver, and the authority was forced to face an unprecedented level of savings.

“We have listened to the arguments made by the National Deaf Children’s Society, and we have listened to parents, children and teachers.  In light of this, it has been agreed that the original decisions be reviewed, following proper and meaningful consultation, to help us to continue to provide the best level of services for city children.”

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