Valerie Vaz MP calls for review of face mask guidance for deaf children

Rt Hon Valerie Vaz MP has written to the Education Secretary to raise concerns about use of standard face masks in schools for deaf children

Rt Hon Valerie Vaz MP said:

“I am alarmed that the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has failed to consider deaf children’s needs in education. I have written to the Secretary of State urging him to ensure clear face masks, coverings and shields are widely and readily available to use across education settings.

“In October 2020, the Secretary of State wrote to the National Deaf Children’s Society to assure them he was aware of the difficulties face masks were causing deaf children and said that clear face masks would be recommended to schools and colleges. When the new guidance for schools was published on 8 January 2021, there was no reference to deaf children or the use of clear face masks.

“This broken promise to deaf children is completely unacceptable. The Secretary of State must explain why he has failed to update the guidance in line with his previous commitment to do so. Deaf children are falling behind at school and the Government is not doing enough to support them.

“Clear masks make it easier to lip read and are preferable to standard opaque face masks. Recommending the use of clear face masks is the least the Government can do to support deaf children at such a difficult time.”