Deaf children falling a grade behind at GCSE, says charity

By agency reporter
February 15, 2019

Deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing classmates, and most leave school with less than a grade 4/C in English and Maths, new Government data shows.

The results also reveal that despite the best efforts of deaf children to catch up with their peers, the gap between them will now take 21 years to close.

The new analysis comes from the National Deaf Children’s Society, which examined the Department for Education’s 2018 attainment figures. It found that the average GCSE grade for a child without special educational needs or a disability per subject is 5, a strong C under the old system. For deaf children, this falls to 3.9, historically a grade D.

Less than half (48 per cent) of deaf children now achieve a grade 4 or above in both Maths and English, compared to almost three quarters (71 per cent) of other children.

Deaf children are also arriving at secondary school having already fallen behind. Less than half (43 per cent) achieve the expected standard at reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2 compared to 74 per cent of other children.

There are similar concerns at Key Stage 1, with just over half (53 per cent) of deaf children reaching the required standard, compared to 84 per cent of their peers.

The National Deaf Children’s Society says that while there has been a slight improvement in deaf children’s grades since last year, it will take more than two decades to close the gap, resulting in a lost generation of deaf children.

The charity says that the situation is “utterly unacceptable” four years on from the biggest reforms to special needs education in decades. As a result, it is calling on the Government to provide additional funding so that every deaf child gets the support they need at school.

Susan Daniels, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “These figures show the true depth of the crisis engulfing deaf education in this country. How much evidence does the Department for Education need before it acts?

“Deafness is not a learning disability, but deaf children are still falling a whole grade behind their classmates. Meanwhile, the Government is starving local councils of funding, meaning their support is cut back and their specialist teachers are being laid off.

“The Government needs to address the gap in results urgently and begin to adequately fund the support deaf children need. It promised every child in this country a world class education, but until deaf and hearing children progress and achieve at the same level, it is failing to deliver and that is utterly unacceptable.”

* National Deaf Children's Society


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