DEX is a User-led organisation.
This means that we have personal and professional experience of deaf mainstream education.
DEX is, therefore, the only deaf-led organisation that fully understands the needs of the majority of deaf children in mainstream education and the impact this has on the rest of their lives.
DEX’ uses the word “deaf” to apply to all deaf people who were born with a hearing loss, or became deafened in childhood, and have a permanent loss ranging from mild to total, bilaterally or unilaterally (in one or both ears).
We believe that deaf children, with all levels of deafness, should attend resourced schools or Deaf schools.
For deaf and hearing children, this should include:-
- bilingualism in English / British Sign Language (BSL), or
- multilingualism (i.e. Welsh, where English is not the home language and Modern Foreign Languages, and BSL)
- deaf peer group in significant numbers
- never to be placed alone in mainstream school
- BSL as a national curriculum subject to GCSE level
- hearing children to access Deaf culture and BSL
- socially mixing with deaf and hearing children
For all specialist staff, this should include :
- entry to be BSL NVQ Level 3, as the minimum standard, with a requirement to train to BSL NVQ Level 4, or equivalent
- training via government directives in Regional Centres of Excellence
- Deaf staff to be fully trained and employed as bilingual staff
- parents and family members to receive BSL/Deaf parenting skills and support through government sponsored initiatives
- legislation to implement above requirements, according to DEX’s Framework for Action.
Why do we have these beliefs?
DEX has conducted our own Best Value Review (see Best Value Review (pdf or link) information) and a feasibility study, in addition to market research and service delivery to local authorities. Our work has informed us there are many gaps in services. We have involved deaf children, parents and a wide range of service providers in government organisations (health, councils and voluntary organisations)in our research and strategic planning. We have also read extensively for our literature review, and visited other countries to compare (as required in Best Value Reviews). Our work is not just about a few deaf people’s experiences, but has drawn on a huge well of knowledge.
Because of this, we know that deaf children in mainstream schools, and some Deaf schools, do not receive adequate specialist support to enable them to access education on the same level as hearing children, and that they are socially excluded. Approximately 90-97% of deaf children attend mainstream schools.
The government’s inclusion policy for disabled children may be counter-productive to deaf children’s needs.
According to law and international guidelines, all children need:
- Freedom of association
- Freedom of expression
- Rights respected
- Well-being, a happy and safe childhood
- Economic security
- Access to a fluent language
We know the law is not meeting the needs of most deaf children. This is, therefore, in breach of UK and UN law and regulations. DEX wants to challenge current thinking in education, and to support service providers and families in understanding how to make the right changes for deaf children. We can do this – with the support of the readers of this website.