HC Deb 06 June 1991 vol 192 cc310-1W
Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he proposes to take in order to ensure a greater supply of teachers of the deaf in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts

We are seeking to increase the number of teachers in Wales who are qualified to meet the educational needs of deaf pupils through a programme of in-service training. Over f100,000 has been approved by my Department for this purpose this year through the grants for education support and training programme.

More generally, the recently introduced criteria for the approval of initial teachers training courses requires that, on completion of their course, students should have developed the capacity to identify pupils with special educational needs or with learning difficulties and to understand the ways in which the potential of such pupils can be developed.

Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives he proposes to help deaf children in Wales.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

The Children Act 1989, to be implemented on 14 October 1991, lays a general duty on local social services authorities to promote the welfare of children who are in need by providing an appropriate range and level of services. Section 17 of the Act defines children in need so as to include deaf children. By virtue of schedule 2 to the Act, services to such children should be designed to minimise the effect of their disability and give them the opportunity to lead lives which are as normal as possible. Guidance on these provisions is contained in chapter 2 of the publication "The Children Act 1989: Guidance and Regulations—Volume 2 Family Support, Day Care and Educational Provision for Young Children" (HMSO 1991), a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Further guidance is in preparation which will give advice to local authorities on the discharge of their duty to children with disabilities.