Boy’s Plea Over Classroom Help For Deaf Pupils

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A London schoolboy is leading a  campaign to stop councils cutting funding for teachers of deaf children.

Seven-year-old Matthew English, who wears hearing aids because one of his ears did not develop properly, appears in a film alongside Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter urging the Government to continue paying for vital services.

In the film for the National Deaf Children’s Society, Bromley-born Matthew also shared the spotlight with Pramface actress Scarlett Johnston.

The NDCS is concerned that a third of councils have made cuts to services, such as specialist teachers who monitor the development of pupils and make sure they have the right equipment so that they can hear in class, and speech and language therapists. The charity has launched an online petition as part of its Stolen Futures campaign and if 100,000 people sign it they will secure a debate in Parliament.

In the film Matthew, whose condition is called microtia, urges people to sign it. He finds it difficult to hear in a noisy classroom or playground and has a teacher of the deaf to help him understand what is going on. His mother Janice English is concerned that he might lose this support, which will mean he will be unable to fulfil his dream of becoming an actor.

She said: “Matthew currently receives one to one support for four mornings each week which is an enormous help to him in understanding what has been said in class. Matthew tells me that he finds his school work much more difficult when she isn’t there.”

Johnston said: “I’m supporting the campaign because my sister is deaf and I understand how important it is that deaf children get the support they need. These services are not a luxury.”

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