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October 13, 2004

The National Deaf Children's Society launches Listening Bus and calls for government backing of Deaf Friendly Schools Pledge

From: NDCS - Oct 13, 2004

Media Contacts
Matt Stickels
IncrediBull Ideas
020 7940 3800

Date of release Wednesday, 13 October 2004

The National Deaf Children's Society launches Listening Bus and calls for government backing of Deaf Friendly Schools Pledge

PHOTOCALL - 10:45am Thursday 14th October 2004
Outside the QEII Conference Centre, Westminster

A new National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) Listening Bus® will be officially launched at Westminster by Lord Filkin, Minister for special educational needs and Malcolm Bruce MP, the Vice President of NDCS. The Listening Bus is a unique mobile technology exhibition, which visits schools throughout the UK demonstrating the latest technology available to help improve communication for deaf children, and their families, friends and teachers.

At the launch NDCS will also be asking MPs to support its Deaf Friendly Schools Pledge. Over 1000 schools across the UK have signed up to the ten point pledge so far, which aims to help schools improve communication and become more accessible for deaf children. The NDCS – the only charity dedicated to the support of the UK's deaf children is aiming for 3000 schools in the UK to have signed up to the pledge by the end of 2005.

Lord Filkin, Minster for special educational needs said:

"I'm really pleased to be supporting both these initiatives from the National Deaf Children's Society. Deaf children need to be part of the whole school community, on an equal footing with their hearing friends. Effective communication, positive attitudes and a supportive environment are essential for this to happen. The Listening Bus and the Deaf Friendly Schools Pledge pack offer invaluable information and advice to help schools become more aware of deaf children's needs."

Susan Daniels, Chief Executive NDCS and Disability Rights Commissioner said:

"Schools are keen to support deaf children but often lack the knowledge and expertise that will enable them to do so. This can be particularly true in mainstream schools with only one or two deaf students. NDCS is keen to support schools to make sure deaf children are successful, giving them more opportunities to succeed in their chosen careers. Both our Listening Bus and Deaf Friendly Schools Pledge provide a great opportunity for schools to do this."

The Listening Bus allows deaf children to try out new kinds of technology which can help them communicate with friends and family such as radio aids, pager systems and mobile phone accessories. Without this service families might not know what equipment is available which could make a real difference to their lives. New additions to the bus include large TV screens, a web cam for live video links, a play area for younger visitors and a quiet room where parents and professionals can talk to the NDCS team in privacy.

MP's will be invited to visit the Listening Bus, sign their names to the Deaf Friendly Schools Pledge and endorse it amongst the schools in their constituencies. Schools signing up to the pledge receive a free pack containing a book with advice, hints and tips on each of the ten points as well as posters and other resources.

There are over 35,000 children in the UK, who have some level of permanent deafness. In addition, as many as one in four children may experience temporary deafness caused by a condition known as glue ear. The majority of deaf children are educated in mainstream schools and many of them require special educational support.

Further information

For further information or to arrange an interview please call Matt Stickels, IncrediBull Ideas on 020 7940 3800 or

The NDCS deaf friendly schools pledge.
• Ensure that the whole school is deaf aware
• Foster positive attitudes towards deafness
• Promote effective communication
• Develop an acoustically friendly environment
• Use technical equipment effectively
• Adopt a whole school commitment to the inclusion of deaf children
• Have high expectations of deaf children and develop them to their fullest potential
• Create equal learning and social opportunities for deaf children
• Work in partnerships with specialist support teams and other agencies
• Provide opportunities for deaf children to meet other deaf children and adults