§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will make inquiries into the use of aids to schoolchildren with defective hearing known as phonic ears; and if he will take steps to ensure that these or similar systems are made available where they can be of advantage;
(2) how many children with seriously defective hearing are being taught in special schools; and how many in normal local authority schools;
(3) if it is his policy to encourage local authorities to take the necessary steps to provide facilities for children with seriously defective hearing to be educated in normal local authority schools; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. McElhone
Radio link aids are already to be found in some Scottish schools. It is however for the education authorities themselves to decide what form of equipment to provide in schools and it would not be appropriate for me to press them to adopt any particular system.
In September 1977, 397 deaf and 343 partially deaf children were attending public, grant-aided and independent special schools in Scotland. There is no means of estimating the number of children with hearing defects in ordinary schools but I would not expect to find any appreciable number of profoundly deaf children in such schools.
It has long been Government policy that children should not be placed in special schools if they can be satisfactorily educated in ordinary schools. The Warnock Committee, whose report was published in May, took that policy for granted and considered in depth the practical implications for the future. Consultations on the Warnock Report will shortly be put in hand.