A severely deaf teenager has launched a campaign calling on the Government to take action following ‘major funding cuts to local authorities’.
Jacob Atkinson, who lives in Cramlington, wants the issue of allocations for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) students to be discussed by MPs of all parties to highlight the importance of providing vital equipment in schools and colleges.
As part of the Greater Recognition for Deaf Young People campaign, he has set-up an online petition. It has received more than 200 signatures so far.
The 18-year-old said that the funding cuts “have become so severe that in some counties, such as Northumberland, parents are now being asked to provide money to plug Government funding cuts”.
He added: “During the recent 2017 general election campaign, the issue of more funding for deaf and SEND young people was not specifically mentioned by any of the main parties.
“I believe that parties need to make deeper commitments and recognise that promising to eradicate barriers isn’t enough.
“It has been seven years since the Equality Act was passed. For a country which prides itself on being open and accessible, we still have a long way to go.
“I was also motivated to establish this campaign by my Christian faith and the support I’ve received from members of my local church, some of whom are deaf themselves.
“I am extremely pleased that so many people care about this issue as passionately as I do. Moving forward, I hope to gain more signatures at Newcastle University – I will begin studying a degree in history there on Monday.
“I also hope that Northumberland County Council will take note of this petition and release more funding to their Sensory Support Service, as it is crucial that all SEND young people, particularly deaf students, have the support that they need to succeed in school.”
To see and sign the petition, go to www.change.org/search and then type Jacob Atkinson.