‘Lost generation’ of deaf children falling behind by one grade at GCSE

New Government data, analysed by the NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Society), shows that English deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing peers at GCSE, despite deafness not being a learning disability.

Fewer than half of deaf children achieve a grade 4/C in Maths and English at GCSE level, compared to over 70% of hearing pupils with no identified SEN (Special Educational Needs).

By the time deaf children start secondary school, only 43% achieving the expected standard at reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2, compared to 74% of other children.

Similarly at Key Stage 1, there is a 31% difference compared to deaf children and their classmates (53% of deaf children, compared to 84% of hearing children with no SEN).

The NDCS’ stance on the data is that although there has been a slight improvement in deaf children’s grades last year, there is still a long way to go. Despite the best efforts of deaf children to catch up with their peers, it takes 21 years to close the gap. This results in an entire ‘lost generation’ of deaf, underachieving children.

The charity says that the situation is ‘utterly unacceptable’ and is calling on the Government to provide additional funding so that every deaf child gets the support they need – enabling them to achieve their full potential.

“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.” – Susan Daniels OBE, Chief Executive at NDCS.

“Our ambition for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those who are deaf, is exactly the same for every other child – to achieve well in education, and go on to live happy and fulfilled lives. We recognise that local authorities are facing cost pressures on high needs and that there is more to do which is why in December 2018 we announced an additional £250m in funding for high needs over this and next year.” – Spokesperson for the Department for Education.

Independent writer, volunteer and performer from Lancashire, England. May every day be GEP: Good, Exciting and Productive!