HC Deb 08 July 1991 vol 194 c630
2. Mr. Raffan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the provision of further education for the deaf in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts

Twenty-one colleges of further education in Wales make provision for students with special needs, including partially or profoundly deaf students. During the 1989–90 session, 35 students with a specific hearing impairment were studying in Welsh colleges.

Mr. Raffan

Does my right hon. Friend agree that places for the deaf at colleges of further education must be backed by a team of professionals who can cater for the full range of communication and linguistic needs of their students, and that even that is no substitute for a college that caters specifically for the deaf within a supportive and signing environment, such as Doncaster college for the deaf?

Sir Wyn Roberts

I am happy to tell my hon. Friend that, under grants for education support and training, funds are available to meet the cost of in-service training for further education staff who teach students with special educational needs, including deaf students. Some £50,000 is available for this purpose in the current financial year, and further support will be available in 1992–93. Our White Paper "Education and Training for the 21st Century" states that the new further education funding council will be placed under a duty to secure provision for students with special educational needs.

Mr. Win Griffiths

May I draw to the Minister's attention the fact that the money available at colleges of further education to cater properly for deaf students and other students with special educational needs is totally inadequate? There are cases at the college of technology in Bridgend where it looks as though students will be unable to benefit from the courses, simply because of the additional expense of making sure that they can take the courses. I ask the Minister to look into this matter urgently and to provide the money needed.

Sir Wyn Roberts

Mid Glamorgan certainly takes a substantial share of that £50,000—£11,150 to be precise. I must stress the reply that I gave: 21 out of the 31 colleges of further education provide for students with special educational needs.

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