HC Deb 10 April 1973 vol 854 c1115
7. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will issue advice to local education authorities that further education classes for the deaf to learn to lip-read need not conform to the minimum number required for other subjects; and that for the most effective results no lip-reading class should have more than eight students.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. St. John-Stevas)

I do not think advice is necessary. Local education authorities can provide classes for small numbers if local circumstances permit.

Mr. Pavitt

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, although they can, they do not? The largest cities are applying arbitrary figures which do not permit the decent teaching of lip-reading. As this is a very neglected area, will the hon. Gentleman reconsider his answer and set up a departmental inquiry? It is a disgrace to civilisation that we are not doing more in this field.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I share the hon. Gentleman's concern about this subject, but in fact local education authorities are more sympathetic than perhaps he allows. In reply to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, my Department, in consultation with the Department of Health and Social Security, is working on an inquiry to find out the extent, actual or intended, of local education authority provision of classes in lip-reading. When we have this information it will be publicised by the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and through other suitable channels.