Councils cutting education support for deaf children

By agency reporter
May 21, 2018

Over a third of councils across England have revealed they are cutting the education support they give to deaf children this year.

The figures, obtained by the National Deaf Children’s Society through Freedom of Information requests, show that deaf children in these areas will be losing £4 million of support this year, with these councils on average cutting 10 per cent from deaf children’s services.

 The National Deaf Children’s Society fears that the support deaf children receive is now reaching “breaking point”. The charity warned that in the last four years alone, one in 10 specialist Teachers of the Deaf have been cut, and deaf children’s GCSE results are getting worse. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/25154)

The latest Department for Education data shows that deaf children are falling behind their hearing classmates at every stage of school, and at GCSE, two thirds of deaf children fail to achieve a ‘good’ grade 5 in both English and Maths, a key government target.

Susan Daniels, the Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society said: “The Government urgently needs to step in and tackle this mounting funding crisis in deaf children’s education. By not acting, this Government is putting the education of too many deaf children at risk, and letting their futures hang in the balance.

“Deaf children can achieve anything other children can, but to do this it is crucial they get the right support. Despite councils having a legal duty to support deaf children, we are seeing the vital support system that they rely on for their education torn apart. Deaf children are falling even further behind at school, and the Government’s response is nothing short of woeful complacency.”

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness added: “Today’s figures should shame us all. The incredible potential of deaf children is being extinguished because the system that supports them is being completely undermined.”

“We need leadership, and the Department for Education urgently needs to step up to the plate and solve this mounting crisis. If Theresa May genuinely wants to make good on her pledge to tackle the burning injustices in our society, then her Government needs show more than warm words to the country’s deaf children.”

Speaking about why deaf children are losing so much support this year, Susan Daniels commented: “No one is in any doubt that this is a complex problem. We have rising numbers of children with special educational needs like deafness, but funding is not keeping pace with increasing demand. Ministers can talk until they are blue in the face about their reforms and record investment in the system, but as this data shows, that is a complete fantasy for deaf children who are facing huge cuts to their educational support.

“The Department for Education like to say that children only get one shot at an education, but so far we haven’t seen any action from them to make sure no deaf children end up being left behind. They need to make sure central government funding keeps pace with increasing demand. They need to look again at the ring fencing of schools funding. They need to invest in Teachers of the Deaf. They also need to commit to regular long term inspections of special needs services so we know when children are being failed. But on top of all of this, the Government need to take this crisis in funding for deaf children seriously and start tackling it head on.”

Wendy McCracken, Professor of Deaf Education at the University of Manchester added: “Another year goes by, and deaf children are bearing the brunt of council cuts. Deaf children should be achieving more than ever before, but repeated cuts mean their potential is being squandered. Two in three deaf children won’t get a good GCSE in English and Maths, and it’s the Government responsibility to sort this out. The lives of deaf children will absolutely be limited by having dwindling support, and this will have a big impact on their lives for many years to come.”  

* National Deaf Children's Society http://www.ndcs.org.uk/

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