Councils warned against sabotaging deaf children


The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) is warning that the gains deaf children made in recent GCSEs results will be eradicated in the next few years by short-sighted council cuts to the support that deaf children rely on to learn.

Government attainment figures for deaf children show that although deaf children are continuing to do better at school, just four in ten are reaching the Government benchmark of five good GCSEs, compared with seven in ten of their classmates.

The attainment gap between deaf children and children with no special educational needs is at 43 per cent for achieving five GCSEs at grade A*-C including English and maths, narrowing from last year’s 46 per cent gap.

The figures show that the work of NDCS, parents and professionals to improve support for deaf children has been making an impact, as grades move in the right direction.  However, as one in five local authorities has made a cut to educational support for deaf children in the last year, the charity warns the upward trend will not continue and more deaf children will fall behind.

Brian Gale, Director of Policy and Campaigns at NDCS, said: “Deafness is not a learning disability, and with the right support in place, deaf children should be achieving in line with their classmates. 

“The consequences of leaving school without good qualifications in today’s extremely tough job market are severe and deaf young people are not getting the grades they need to compete.  Although we are encouraged to see the continued improvement in deaf children’s attainment at school, we are very concerned that local authorities are sabotaging the future achievement of deaf children by cutting vital support.”

In May 2011 almost one five local authorities was cutting educational support for deaf children with further cuts uncovered in the following months.  Support being cut includes specialist Teachers of the Deaf and teaching assistants. 

The specialist support begins for all deaf children from diagnosis.  90 per cent of deaf children’s parents have no previous experience of deafness and almost 90 per cent of deaf children attend mainstream school.