Calls for better education for young disabled

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A Holyrood committee has called for improvements in the education of young people with visual or hearing impairments.

An inquiry by the Education Committee uncovered concerns about the attainment and employment prospects of school leavers with sensory impairments.

Scottish Government figures show that they achieve fewer qualifications on average than those who do not have any additional support needs.

Recent research has also found that the Scottish employment rate for young people with a hearing impairment was lower than that for other young people.

MSPs have recommended a greater emphasis on teaching day-to-day life skills in order to boost attainment and employability, particularly for pupils with a visual impairment.

They also want to see better data on where people with sensory impairments go after further or higher education, as well as an increase in the minimum qualification for teachers using British sign language.

Committee convener Stewart Maxwell MSP said: “It has become clear to us that education for pupils with a sensory impairment needs to be improved. Whilst there is some fantastic work going on in some areas of Scotland for many this is not the case.

“Proper support is needed for those pupils in mainstream schools. For example, it is simply unacceptable that there are occasions when basic technological failures mean pupils are unable to access learning materials.

“But more than this, there needs be a greater understanding of what is needed for each child to ensure they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”