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Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living

Deaf pupils in England struggle at every stage of school, report finds

Date: 15/8/2019
Summary: Deaf pupils in England are struggling “at every stage of their education”, with fewer than half leaving school with two A-levels, compared with almost two-thirds of their hearing peers, according to new analysis.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) analysed government data and found that 44% of deaf pupils achieve two A-levels or equivalent, compared with 63% of hearing pupils.

Fewer than three-quarters of them (73%) will gain five GCSEs or equivalent by the age of 19, compared with 88% of hearing pupils. If English and maths are included, that figure goes down to just over half (52%) of deaf pupils and three-quarters (76%) of their hearing classmates.

The analysis was published before A-level results day on Thursday, when deaf pupils are expected to significantly underachieve again, with similar disappointing results expected for GCSE students the following week.

“Deaf children arrive at school with amazing potential only to begin a lifetime of being left behind,” said Susan Daniels, the chief executive of NDCS. “While some of them are achieving incredible results and going on to their dream jobs, these results show that many more are being completely failed by the system on which they rely.”

The attainment gap between deaf children and hearing children is evident before pupils start secondary school at the age of 11. Fewer than half (43%) reach the expected standard for reading, writing and maths at key stage 2 (KS2) at the end of primary school, compared with three-quarters (74%) of other children.

At KS1, when children are aged seven and under, deaf children are trailing, with just over half (53%) reaching the expected standard compared with 84% of their hearing classmates.

Campaigners say deaf education has been blighted by deep cuts to support services and are calling on the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, to introduce a bursary to train hundreds of new specialist teachers.

“For years the deepening crisis in deaf education has been brushed off with the government pretending it didn’t exist,” said Daniels. “However, the government’s own data now shows in black and white how dire the situation is for deaf children. Every child deserves the chance to shine at school, and deaf children are no exception.”

Kirsten Clark-Lyons’ seven-year-old daughter Indi was born with severe high-frequency hearing loss and uses hearing aids and a radio aid. Her mother said: “Ever since she started school we’ve had to fight. She’s making progress this year, but this is the first time in her academic life.

“The school try, I just don’t think they really know what they’re doing. They think that because she has hearing aids that everything is fine, but it’s not like a pair of glasses. She doesn’t instantly get perfect hearing.

“People keep talking about secondary schools. I don’t know where she’s going to go. I don’t know how she’s going to cope.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The percentage of pupils with a hearing impairment achieving a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and mathematics has increased in recent years.

“We want to support all pupils to fulfil their potential in school, however, and we know there is more to do to support those with additional needs, which is why we have increased high-needs funding from £5bn in 2013 to £6.3bn this year.”

Source: The Guardian

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