HC Deb 14 December 1970 vol 808 cc265-6W
Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will discuss with local education authorities the desirability of setting up schools, each supported by a number of local education authorities, to provide an education for the minority of deaf children who have great difficulty in lip reading and who are unable to benefit substantially from the oral education provided by the present schools for the deaf.

Mrs. Thatcher

Development along these lines was considered by the Lewis Committee, which reported in 1968. The Committee concluded that there were organisational and other objections to providing separate schools for deaf children taught by different media of communication. Such schools would in any case be a long distance from the homes of most of the children who might be concerned and I think the weight of argument is against pursuing the hon. Member's suggestion.

Mr. Jack Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make and publish an inquiry into the supply, use, condition and maintenance of all hearing aids used in schools for the deaf.

Mrs. Thatcher

An inquiry into the condition of hearing aids in schools for the deaf in the London area was conducted by the Royal National Institute for the deaf in 1968. This showed that, while some of the aids had defects requiring skilled servicing, many had simple faults that could easily be rectified.

Training courses for teachers of the deaf include instruction in the use and simple testing of hearing aids. Medresco hearing aids are supplied through centres in National Health Service hospitals.

I do not consider that a special inquiry is required.