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Government urged to act over “crisis” in deaf education

Government urged to act over “crisis” in deaf education
28th August 2019 Ian Streets

The National Deaf Children’s Society is calling on the Government to halt what it describes as “the crisis engulfing deaf education and the wider special educational needs system” by providing proper funding.
The charity has urged the new Secretary of State for Education to introduce a bursary to train hundreds of new specialist teachers, who can provide crucial one-on-one support for deaf children, families and teachers from a child’s diagnosis right through to the end of their education.
The Society issued the warning after completing its analysis of the Department for Education’s 2018 exam results for pupils up to the age of 19. Their research showed that just 44 per cent of deaf pupils achieve two A-levels or equivalent, compared to 63 per cent of hearing pupils.
On average, deaf children also fall an entire grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE. In addition, less than three quarters of them (73 per cent) will gain five GCSEs or equivalent by age 19, compared to 88 per cent of hearing children.
The situation is even worse for English and Maths, which are often both required to progress in education. Half (52 per cent) of deaf pupils gain five GCSE passes or equivalent when English and Maths are included. This rises to three quarters (76 per cent) for hearing pupils.
The Society says that the problem affects deaf children throughout their education, as they arrive at secondary school having already fallen behind. Less than half (43 per cent) reach the expected standard for reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2, compared to three quarters (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 expected standard for reading, compared to 84 per cent of their classmates.
The Society says that deafness isn’t a learning disability and with the right support, deaf children can achieve the same as their hearing classmates. However, it adds that the figures clearly show that deaf children are being failed at every turn by an education system hit by cuts to support services and key staff.
Susan Daniels OBE, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Deaf children arrive at school with amazing potential only to begin a lifetime of being left behind. 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.
“For years the deepening crisis in deaf education has been brushed off with the Government pretending it didn’t exist. However, the Government’s own data now shows in black and white how dire the situation is for deaf children.
“The new Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has a golden opportunity to change deaf children’s lives. He must immediately invest in their support, reverse the devastating cuts to their specialist teachers and finally act where so many of his predecessors have failed to.
“Every child deserves the chance to shine at school, and deaf children are no exception.”

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