BLIND and deaf children are being taught by unqualified tutors prompting concerns that disabled pupils in Scotland are receiving sub-standard education.
Scathing reports about the state of education for sensory impaired children have been prepared as MSPs probe teacher workforce planning.
It has emerged that vision impaired children are being taught by students and support teachers without the required qualifications, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in Scotland. The National Deaf Children’s Society is also concerned about the number of Teachers of the Deaf (ToDs) who do not hold the mandatory qualification, complaining about a lack of monitoring and regulation and a pressure on budgets.
The inquiry comes amid growing concerns about staff shortages in schools of all abilities throughout Scotland, with figures showing one hundred head teacher and deputy posts remained unfilled at the start of the school year.
In March, a major report on the health of Scottish education by school inspectors warned the recruitment crisis was damaging the quality on offer to pupils.
Charities have warned that children are already at a disadvantage because of their sensory impairment, and the lack of qualified teachers is making matters worse. More than three-fifths of school leavers in Scotland secured one or more Higher at grade A-C in 2012/13 – but vision impaired leavers were nearly half as likely to achieve those grades and less than a third of vision impaired people are employed.
Figures show more than one in ten deaf pupils left school with no qualifications last year, compared with 2.6 per cent of all pupils. Less than two-fifths obtained Highers or Advanced Highers, compared with nearly three-fifths of all pupils, and under a quarter go to university, compared with over two-fifths of unimpaired pupils .
A spokesman for RNIB Scotland said: “We have anecdotal evidence of teachers still in training for their qualification and general additional support teachers being employed as Qualified Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (QTVI) to make up for the shortage of support for students with a vision impairment.
“As the needs of children and young people with a visual impairment are particularly specialised this support is inadequate.”