HC Deb 26 June 1973 vol 858 cc1303-4
12. Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is satisfied with the educational provisions for deaf children.

Mrs. Thatcher

Much good work is being done but there are also some problems to overcome. As I said in reply to a question by the hon. Gentleman on 3rd April, these are being studied in the Department. Following this, I shall decide on any action to be taken.—[Vol. 854, c. 60.]

Mr. Ashley

Is the right hon. Lady aware that there is an acute shortage of qualified teachers for the deaf, and that a daft Burnham award has deprived qualified teachers of a special award, thereby exacerbating the shortage? As deaf children suffer enough from educational deprivation, will she do all she can to take urgent action to ensure that there are enough teachers for deaf children?

Mrs. Thatcher

I cannot comment on the Burnham aspect of the hon. Gentleman's question, but I agree that there is a shortage of teachers for deaf children. The working party to which I have referred, which has a number of Her Majesty's inspectors on it, is especially considering new diploma courses and part-time courses for this purpose.

Mr. Money

Will my right hon. Friend consider approaching the Independent Broadcasting Authority to see whether some of the off-peak time on the new local radio stations could be used to try out pilot programmes for the parents of deaf children to give them some training in some of the educational needs their children may have?

Mrs. Thatcher

I at least undertake to draw the attention of the authority to my hon. Friend's suggestion. What it wishes to do about the suggestion is of course a matter for it.