Parents and children at a primary school near Highbury and Islington station staged a protest against proposed cuts to its deaf provision.

The protest took place outside Laycock Primary School on Tuesday morning (December 13). 

The school currently has a specialist provision for 64 deaf children, 38 of whom have additional needs.

Initial proposals suggested that children in years 4-6 were set to be integrated into the mainstream every afternoon, supported by a teacher of the deaf just one afternoon a week.

Parents say that this contravenes pupils’ education, health and care (EHC) plans, which detail the additional support that children with special educational needs and disabilities require.

Islington Gazette: Child with hearing aid outside Laycock Primary SchoolChild with hearing aid outside Laycock Primary School (Image: Matt Crossick)

The Islington Gazette understands that parents have now been informed that this change will no longer take place. However, no formal decision will be made until January 20 next year, when the school’s consultation on the proposals with staff concludes.

The cuts would include integrating the head and assistant head of the deaf provision, as well as the audiologist role, into one assistant headteacher role.

The move has placed the job of the head of the unit at risk. 

Giulia Bove, mother of Max in year 4, who is deaf and has ASD and ADHD, and Olivia in reception, said: "It’s alarming that the people who are supposed to oversee our deaf kids’ education, have chosen to pick on the most vulnerable kids in the school."

She said the initial proposals would have meant integrating children from the deaf provision into the mainstream when they were “at their most tired”.

Giulia added: “We understand that these proposals are now off the table thanks to our campaign, but we still need to fight to save jobs, and to protect the provision from these sweeping cuts.”

Islington Gazette: Children protest against proposed cuts to Laycock Primary School's deaf unitChildren protest against proposed cuts to Laycock Primary School's deaf unit (Image: Matt Crossick)

Dan Turner, father of Shoshie Turner in reception, said: “When I found out my four-year-old daughter was deaf, I thought I’d won the jackpot after hearing about the specialist deaf provision at Laycock.

“The attempt to bury these changes before Christmas, without any consultation with parents or other local authorities smacks of a cover up.”

An Islington Council spokesperson, responding on behalf of Laycock Primary School, said: “Islington Council is determined to give every child and young person in Islington the best start in life. This, of course, includes ensuring that hearing-impaired and deaf pupils are given the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential.    

“Like many schools across the country, Laycock Primary School is responding to increased financial pressures, and is looking for solutions that ensure that the quality of the curriculum is not compromised.     

“The current consultation with staff has been agreed by the governing body, and all feedback will be carefully considered. Once the consultation has concluded, parents and guardians will be contacted by the school to inform them of their decisions.”    

They added that parents and guardians will be invited to a meeting in the new year, where they will be able to provide their feedback on the proposals.