Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson met with representatives from the National Deaf Children’s Society and a young deaf campaigner today (24 September) to talk about the future of deaf children’s education in the region.
Ella, 14, met Ms Hodgson at the Labour Party Annual Conference in Liverpool and the pair discussed key issues affecting deaf children, including vital education funding and the gap in attainment between deaf children and their hearing peers throughout the North East. The meeting comes as deaf children’s services across the country face cuts of £4 million this year.
"It was great to meet Ella and the National Deaf Children's Society team, to speak about the challenges deaf children face every day in classrooms up and down the country.
"It is shocking that there are so many deaf children in England in mainstream education who do not get the specialist support that they require.
"I wish Ella all the best in her education and campaigning to ensure that deaf children receive the support they need."
Jessica Reeves, Campaigns Manager at National Deaf Children’s Society, said:
“It’s great to see MPs like Sharon Hodgson coming to meet young deaf people to hear about the daily challenges they have to face.
“Deafness is not a learning disability and when deaf children get the support they need at school, there are no limits to what they can achieve. However, deaf children in the North East are currently falling a grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE.
“Meetings like this are an excellent way for deaf children like Ella to talk to MPs about the barriers they face in their education and how we can all work together to overcome them.”
Sharon, in her role as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Food, is lending her support to the Make Rio Count National Fun Day on the 4th August 2016, the day before the start of the Rio Olympic Games.
This national fun day will highlight the good work of schools, charities, councils and others helping make provisions for children to get good food and free activities in the school holidays, and will coincide with the global nutrition summit in Rio, the day before the Olympic Games begin.
The global nutrition summit in Rio follows a similar summit held ahead of the London 2012 Olympics on nutrition and aims to build on the work being done internationally and nationally to address hunger and food insecurity.
The two specific asks from the Make Rio Count Fun Day, include:
- A new vision for food and nutrition security in the UK which delivers healthy, affordable sustainable diets for all;
- A targeted package to improve the life-chances of women and children most at risk of a poor diet, which includes:
- Increase the uptake and voucher value of the Healthy Start programme.
- Protect and improve child nutrition during the school holidays by piloting holiday provision for the UK’s most vulnerable children, and;
- Conduct an annual national measurement of household food insecurity.
This national fun day follows on from important work done by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School’s Food Holiday Hunger Task Group, which since its inception in 2013, has held a national conference in Sheffield on child holiday hunger, launched guidelines on providing food during holiday provision, written an update report on holiday hunger which highlights best practice around the country, and most recently, worked with Northumbria University to map holiday provision, which includes food provision, to identify where more support is needed to address child holiday hunger.
Following the launch of the National Fun Day, Sharon said:
“For many years now, I have worked alongside fellow Parliamentarians and experts in the world of children’s health, nutrition and education to ensure we finally end the issue of child hunger, including during the school holidays, and that is why I welcome the Make Rio Count national fun day to help raise awareness of what more can be done by the Government.
“The Government cannot attend this vital international conference and call for hunger to be addressed across the world, and not do anything to address it on our own doorstep. With evidence continuing to show that children return to school after the summer holidays malnourished and have fallen behind their more affluent peers in terms of their education, along with the rising use of food banks during the summer holidays, then it is high-time the Government did something about this.
“The government’s rhetoric on addressing hunger globally is welcome but inaction here in the UK cannot continue as it is detrimental to the future and the life chances of our children. That is why rhetoric on hunger in other countries must be replicated here in the UK and I hope that this national fun day can take us one step closer to seeing the Government finally address this important issue.”
You can find a flyer for the National Fun Day here.