Harthill student pleading for more deaf teachers to be active in schools

National Deaf Children’s Society
Matthew Muir hopes the Scottish Government can act soon to get more deaf teachers into schools.

Matthew Muir, from Harthill is pleading for more deaf teachers to be active in Schools around his own constituency and around Scotland as he admits that there isn’t much support for pupils without that assistance.

Muir, a Journalism student at City of Glasgow College, says that the Scottish Government can do more to help those in need.

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“I would hope that the government can act as soon as they can, it’s important that deaf children get the best support that they possibly can.

“People are twice as likely to leave school with no qualifications as a result and it’s even harder to reach your potential, that stat can only improve with more deaf teachers coming in.

“It’s a UK wide issue but Scotland is the worst part of the UK, the children are entitled to all the support that can possibly get, I got a great experience at Primary and Secondary school, deaf children aren’t getting enough support.

“I was captain of Calderhead High School and that brings its own potential and the confidence you build within yourself stems as a result of that.

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“I was in the mainstream department at school and it was a mainstream school, there was only two children that was identified as deaf at the school, I wasn’t the most confident person when I started school, in terms of my own experience, I can’t thank the school enough and hope others get the same experiences as me moving forward.”

Teachers of the Deaf are specialist teachers who do crucial work alongside deaf learners and their families, helping them overcome the barriers they face in the critical early years and in education. But the number of fully qualified Teachers of the Deaf in Scotland has fallen by 40% in the last decade – twice the rate of other parts of the UK.

Now the National Deaf Children’s Society in Scotland is calling for councils, to work with the Scottish Government and Universities to turn around the fall in Teachers of the Deaf in Scotland, to ensure every deaf child gets the support they need. With more than 90% of deaf children born to hearing parents with no prior experience in deafness, Teachers of the Deaf can help families with deaf children feel less alone and more confident about supporting their language and communication.

Deaf children have told us how much they feel they miss out on at school if they don’t get help at school from a specialist. For many deaf children such support is vital, as the latest Scottish Government statistics shows that deaf learners are twice as likely to leave school with no qualifications and half as likely to go on to university. These deaf pupils should be achieving the same kinds of outcomes as their hearing classmates.

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Teachers of the Deaf work alongside deaf children and their families in the early years following identification of deafness until they leave school. They provide information and support to families about deafness, help young children develop key language and communication skills provide one to one tuition for deaf pupils, and advise schools on how to make sure they are deaf friendly. They work with all deaf children, whether their deafness is profound, severe, moderate or mild.

However, as the number of fully qualified Teachers of the Deaf in Scotland has fallen, increasing numbers of deaf children are missing out on this kind of support. The latest figures compiled by the Consortium for Research Into Deaf Education found that nearly 40% of Local Authorities in Scotland did not involve a Teacher of the Deaf in the three statutory early years checks – meaning families could be missing out on joined-up support and vital advice to help them prepare for the future.

Families of deaf children have told us that in some areas their local Teachers of the Deaf have too big a caseload to work with deaf learners on a one-to-one basis, and can only offer advice to teachers and schools, who may have no experience of supporting deaf pupils. In addition, around 45% of Teachers of the Deaf in Scotland plan to retire over the next 10 years – so if we don’t take action now things will only get worse.

People wanting to get involved and to support the current campaigns can click on the link to find out more.

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