HC Deb 10 April 1973 vol 854 cc1120-1
12. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is satisfied with the availability of teachers for deaf children; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Thatcher

I will, with permission, answer this Question—I am sorry, it is for my hon. Friend to answer.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

It merely shows the zeal of the Department.

The Department is already considering various matters connected with the education of children with impaired hearing. They include the training and supply of teachers, and my right hon. Friend will decide later on any action to be taken.

Mr. McCrindle

Has my hon. Friend's attention been drawn to a recent report which said that teachers were leaving schools for deaf children twice as fast as they could be replaced and that it was not unusual for a child to wait two years for entry into a special school? As this is a particularly debilitating complaint for a child, may I ask my hon. Friend to show some of the zeal to which he has just referred by doing his best to recruit additional teachers in this sector?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I am familiar with the Press reports to which my hon. Friend has referred. Those reports about the teaching situation in schools for deaf children have been greatly exaggerated. For example, the report that nearly one-third of the teachers did not hold the necessary qualification was completely misleading. The matter is being thoroughly investigated within my Department. We have already had two meetings with specialists and a third is in prospect. We hope to reach a conclusion on this important subject before the end of the year.