Have your say on audiology services in Leeds!

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Arthur Thomas Policy & Campaigns Officer

NDCS are supporting a review of Leeds Audiology Services. If you live in the Leeds then make sure your voice is heard by taking part in a short survey below.

By completing the survey you can help Leeds Audiology Service understand how best to meet the needs of deaf children across Leeds.

Please follow the link below to contribute to the review and have your say:

Complete-the-survey-button-red

We will keep you updated about the progress of the review.

If you have any questions or would like any more information, please contact Carla Rose-Hardman at: Carla.Rose-Hardman@ndcs.org.uk

MPs want to hear about your experience of PIP assessments!

 

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Arthur Thomas Policy & Campaigns Officer

MPs want to hear about your experience of the PIP (personal independence payments) claims process, by this Thursday!

They want to hear:

  • Your experience of the PIP assessment process
  • If you have experienced backlogs
  • About the quality of assessments
  • Any difference between Atos and Capita

As part of our PIP’d Off campaign NDCS are working closely with the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) to campaign to make the PIP claim process accessible and fair. The DBC have set up a survey so that people can submit their experiences  as a group. The closing date for submissions to the PAC inquiry is this Thursday, 28 January 2015, so  lets get cracking!

Complete-the-survey-button-red

 

You can also tell MPs your story via twitter by tweeting comments to @CommonsPAC on Twitter with the hastag #disability.

If you have any questions, you can contact the NDCS Campaigns Team at: campaigns@ndcs.org.uk

MP speaks out about deafness!

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Last night Alison Seabeck MP, a frequent supporter of NDCS, led a short debate on the educational attainment of deaf children and young people in the House of Commons.

In the debate, she spoke about her meeting with a member of the NDCS Young People’s Advisory Board, Renee, at party conference and discussed her own experiences as someone with a unilateral hearing loss as well as her support for the Plymouth Deaf Children’s Society.

Following a briefing from NDCS she also raised NDCS’s Listen Up! campaign to improve audiology services, emphasising the importance of quality audiology services she said ‘Good audiology services make a critical contribution to a deaf child’s success in life, as they are responsible for ensuring that a deaf child can use their remaining hearing to the fullest possible extent’

The Education Minister, Edward Timpson, referred to forthcoming changes to how Ofsted will inspect local authority services for children with special educational needs (SEN), stating that ‘Ofsted is now working up the details of the new arrangements’. This follows our campaign victory on this last month.

The Minister went on to reaffirm his commitment to making sure that the requirements of children with SEN are met and that Local Authorities ‘should prioritise vital front-line services for vulnerable children’

We’d like to say a big thank you to Alison for holding the debate and all the MPs who took part for their contributions. Short debates like this are a great way of raising awareness of deafness within Parliament but also of keeping government Ministers on their toes!

Christmas fun! – CAMPAIGNS NETWORK SURVEY 2014/15

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

The NDCS Policy and Campaigns Team would like to say a big thank you to all the members of the Campaigns Network for all of the thousands of actions that they have taken throughout the year to remove the barriers that deaf children face.

Yesterday the team launched the Campaigns Network Survey! We want to hear what members of the Campaigns Network think of our campaigns activity; how you’ve been involved, how you’d like to get involved and what would improve the Network for you!

The survey is open to all members of the Campaigns Network and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Team photo - Final 2Complete-the-survey-button-red

The survey closes on 12 January 2015 when we will then collate the results and, based on your feedback, make changes to tailor our campaigns activity to give you the best possible experience and ensure our campaigns have the maximum impact!

Those who complete the survey will also be put into a draw to win a £50 M&S voucher…not bad eh!?

 

The Campaigns Network

The NDCS Campaigns Network is open to anyone and provides it members with regular updates on how they can support NDCS campaigns. This includes social media, lobbying central government and supporting grassroots action. We also provide information on new campaigns, such as our Listen Up! audiology campaign, as well as updates on existing campaigns, such as Stolen Futures.

Campaigning doesn’t take a lot of time or experience and there are quick and easy ways to take part. The more people who get involved in our campaigns, the stronger our voice and the greater our impact!

If you are interested in joining the Campaigns Network and helping NDCS to campaign to remove the barriers that deaf children and young people face, then please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact the Campaigns team at: NDCS.Campaigns@ndcs.org.uk

Tower Hamlets Campaign Win! – Overland saved!

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Last night it was with great relief that we heard that Overland Day Nursery would be kept open, along with the other three day nurseries operating in Tower Hamlets.

At the Council Cabinet meeting the Mayor released the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce that after giving careful consideration to the views of users, parents, nursery workers, trade unions and other members of the community, it is our intention to keep all four nurseries open. I would like to thank everybody who took part in our community consultation exercise and reaffirm my commitment as Mayor that I will work with the community to best protect our borough from the impact of government cuts.”

This result came about following a hard fought campaign by the Tower Hamlets Deaf Children’s Society. I first met with parents from the group in October when they raised their concerns about the Your Borough, Your Voice consultation that threatened the only pre-school provision for deaf children within the borough. At this point the group had already established a petition and drafted letters to go to the council.

Blog photoThanks to the tireless efforts of members of the group, such as the Chair Husna Begum, with the support of the NDCS Regional Director for London Nicola Ward, the campaign went from strength to strength including news coverage and garnering support from local MPs and councillors, leading to the announcement last night.

The NDCS Policy and Campaigns team fights to improve services and oppose cuts both nationally and regionally and this success shows that campaigning works and that cuts to vital services are not inevitable. However this campaign mostly highlights the massive impact that Local Groups and the community can have when they come together to combat regional cuts.

You can find your nearest Local Group here or if you feel there is an issue in your area which requires campaigning please contact the NDCS Policy and Campaigns Team.

We at NDCS would like to say a big thank you to those in Tower Hamlets who took part in the campaign and the best of luck in the future.

NDCS Press Release can be found here

Top 5 Reasons why NDCS is calling for Ofsted to inspect services for deaf children

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

Arthur Thomas Campaigns Officer

We’re currently calling on the Government to require Ofsted to inspect local SEN services in England to make sure that local authorities comply with the law and to protect vital services for deaf children.

Why?

We have identified our top 5 reasons for why we are calling for Ofsted to inspect services for deaf children:

  1.  There is currently very little information about the quality of SEN services. Unlike mainstream teachers and schools, the skills of visiting Teachers of the Deaf and the quality of the overall service provided to deaf children are not subject to any formal scrutiny. We think this is massively unfair. Why should parents of deaf children get much less information about the support their child receives compared to other children?
  1. We are concerned that it will be easier for local authorities to cut services if they are not held to account for the impact these cuts will have. Freedom of Information requests have revealed that across England 37% of local authorities are cutting vital education services (such as Teachers of the Deaf) for deaf children in 2014/15.
  1. It’s unfair to leave it to parents to police the system – being a parent is already a full time job! Despite this, the Government have recently made loads of changes to the special educational needs framework in England without putting in place any system for external checks on how it’s all being implemented.
  1. Ofsted has already identified that local authorities are very weak on evaluation of SEN provision. In a 2012 Ofsted report on effective practice in services for deaf children, it was found that:

“There was limited strategic overview and no systematic approach across all services to evaluate the quality of services and their impact on improving the lives of deaf children.”

To date, nothing has been done to follow up this issue.

  1. The Government spends a significant amount of money – over £5,000 million – on supporting children with SEN through the ‘High Needs’ budget. Independent inspections of services would help focus on whether this funding is spent effectively and in a way that raises outcomes for children with SEN.

We believe that this small change to the inspection of schools could make a big difference to the quality of SEN services across the country. We’re waiting to hear from Ofsted and the Department for Education if they are going to take action on this. We will keep you updated with any progress or news on this important issue.

What do you think? Do you think Ofsted should be asked to inspect services for deaf children? Do you think someone should be checking the quality of your local service? Have your say and leave a comment below.