§ 14. Mr. Boston
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the provision for the education and training of deaf children in east Kent, in particular in the Faversham constituency area; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
The general shortage of teachers of the deaf impedes the full development of services for deaf children in many areas. I am not aware of special difficulties in east Kent, where there is a boarding school for deaf pupils. Officers of the Department will be meeting representatives of the universities of Manchester and London later this year to discuss the need for more teacher training places.
§ Mr. Boston
Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the difficulties is that, whilst residential training may be needed for some severe cases, it is nevertheless important, particularly for psychological reasons, that the children should be near their home environment? Will he therefore see whether there is a case for extending day facilities, especially since the residential facilities are a long distance away from some places?
§ Mr. Howell
Fortunately, the small numbers of deaf children make it imperative that they are given specialist training together, which very often rules out day school training. The educational advantages of giving them whole-time specialist education are overwhelming, although I am happy to tell my hon. Friend that there is increasing co-operation between these schools and ordinary secondary modern and other schools in their localities.