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DEAF PARENTING UK held the biggest ever Conference 2009 for Deaf parents focusing on Education, Education, Education at City Hall, London

18th June 2009

National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), Department of Children, School and Families (DCSF), Daycare Trust, Sign for Success, Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre and Equality and Human Right Commission (EHRC) as well as two local Deaf parents gave presentations on Education, enabling Deaf Parents to access to their children’s education of which many experienced numerous of barriers.

Deaf Parenting Conference 2009 was held on Friday 12 June in London and attended by 200 people, mostly Deaf Parents aswell as professionals/ services providers working with Deaf parents. The theme of the conference on Education have touched the core issues in many Deaf parents and bringing them from across UK aswell Deaf parents from Italy, Belgium, Cyprus and Greece who challenged the Government and representatives from NAHT, DCSF, Daycare Trust on the needs of Deaf parents in accessing to their children’s education without barriers.

Richard Barnes, Deputy Mayor of London: “Deaf parents face many daunting challenges in accessing their children’s education, and, indeed, playing a full part in that education. I hope that by hosting the Conference City Hall can facilitate deaf parents and all agencies to come together, identify common issues and move towards there solution”

Sabina Iqbal, Chair/Founder of Deaf Parenting UK: “It was fantastic opportunity to see a largest numbers of delegates at the Deaf Parenting UK conference and the theme of Education, Education, Education is the hottest topic for many Deaf parents. Although this is the first time that the issues have been highlighted, enabling Deaf parents to share their experiences of frustrations in accessing to their children’s education, all delegates are willing for the Government especially DCSF, National Association of Headteachers (who have links with all heads of schools across the UK), Daycare Trust and EHRC to consult with Deaf parents on parenting strategy as to date, Deaf parents have been excluded from the whole process. To date, Deaf parents have had no input as such to influence to their children’s education and the conference gave them opportunity to learn more about their rights under Disability Discrimination Act and Human Right Act but also highlighted the gaps in the system which fails to address the needs of Deaf parents. Deaf Parenting UK hopes that the Government and all representatives from DCSF, NAHT, Daycare Trust and EHRC will work closely with Deaf parents and to commission some work from Deaf Parenting UK to find ways to address those gaps.”

 Julia Gault, Head of Families Unit, Families Engagement Division, Department Children, Schools and Families (DCSF): “The conference provided an important opportunity for deaf parents to bring their issues directly to those like myself working on the future direction of national policy. I appreciated the frankness with which they spoke of their experiences and how they would like to see things change.  This has given renewed vigour to my work towards the Government 2020 Goal that all parents will be satisfied with the information and support they receive.”

 Clarissa Williams, Former Head teacher and President of National Association of Head teachers (NAHT): “It was both a privilege and an experience to have been invited to attend and contribute to the Deaf Parenting UK conference. Listening to the delegates and speakers I realised that the world of education still has some way to go to enact the principles as enshrined in law in order to ensure that deaf parents are allowed and indeed welcomed to join in the learning partnership that they so rightly desire for their children. 

 It was very salutary for me to observe how effectively the deaf community communicates using sign language and this brought home to me the importance of expanding the use of sign language to make communication real and effective amongst all parties.

 I was occasionally saddened and ashamed to hear examples of prejudice that so often comes from ignorance and understand the need to work together with other agencies to reduce inequality through strong advocacy, challenge and support.

 Deaf Parenting UK are to be congratulated in the assertive and professional manner in which they are leading in raising our awareness of the key issues affecting deaf parents and their children.  As a former Head teacher I salute their determination and commitment and will do what I can to disseminate their message to the educational world.”

Ceri Hughes, Director of KMPG LLP who did the closing remark of the conference:” Many congratulations to Deaf Parenting UK on excellent conference. I very enjoyed attending the conference and meeting lots of different people and found the presentations very interesting.”

 Kathy Robinson, Sign for Success and is also a Deaf Parenting UK Ambassador: “The Conference was an eye opener.  Excellent speakers and a real feeling of moving forward to address the needs of Deaf Parents.  Deaf Parenting UK is keeping Deaf Parents high on the government’s agenda.  A hugely informative, supportive successful day!”

 Zem Rodaway, Solicitor, Equality and Human Rights Commission:  “We welcomed the opportunity to participate in this important event and look forward to working with Deaf Parenting UK in the future.”

 Carolyn Denmark, Deaf Parent: “The conference on the day was informative for everyone and obviously there are some issues that we are aware of “Will our account being taken into consideration?” People are cynical on the day how the board can take it back to the Government and how can DCSF identify our needs which is understandable.  I hope they learned something from us on the day to consider how to meet our needs.

 It is good to know that we had Belgian and Italian Deaf people on the day and they found it useful and wanted to develop similar model as ours in their country, it is a positive sign to have a network.”

Cedric Moon, Deaf Parent:” It was very clear from the comments of the deaf delegates that there are wide variations in the standard of access to schools for deaf parents and information about schooling is routinely unavailable to them.  What each deaf parent should have is a Government backed charter setting out what minimum services can be expected from schools as a statutory right. This would help schools face up to their responsibilities.”

Professor Gary Morgan, Deputy Director DCAL research centre, City University London:I very much enjoyed meeting deaf parents and seeing how much DPUK is doing. The ESRC centre for Deafness, Cognition and Language is committed to informing parents about our research through a partnership with Deaf Parenting UK.”

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