Only 36.3% of deaf children in England have left secondary school having hit national GCSE benchmarks, according to the Department of Education (DfE) figures released today. This compares with 65.3% of their hearing classmates, highlighting a disturbing widening gap.
Alongside these results, a recent report issued by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) on behalf of the Consortium for Research in Deaf Education (CRIDE), shows that England’s local authorities have reported a continued drop in the numbers of qualified Teachers of the Deaf.
The NDCS report indicates the lowest ever number of qualified Teachers of the Deaf, which has dropped from 1,031 to 999 and shows the damaging erosion of vital specialist support which allows deaf children to thrive.
This is particularly concerning given that the numbers of deaf children in England identified by local authorities has risen to over 40,600 this year, up 7% from 2013.
The findings also suggest that the situation is only going to get worse for England’s deaf children, with over half of all Teachers of the Deaf due to retire in the next 10-15yrs.
Elayne Nunan’s 16 yr old daughter, Jodie suffers from moderate hearing loss in both ears and is preparing to sit her GCSE exams in June. Elayne is adamant that her daughter has never received the help she needs to do well and was turned down by the local authority when she applied for specialist support.
“Jodie has never received any kind of formal support with her education. Time and again I’ve raised concerns and begged for help, knowing how badly she was struggling and failing to keep up with her classmates and that when crunch time came she’d be falling off the edge of a cliff. Now that she is going to be faced with sitting her GCSE’s and is already bogged down with catch-up and revision, I’m not very hopeful about the grades she will get.
“If Jodie had received the extra help that I was fighting for, who knows what she could have achieved and where life could have taken her.”
Commenting on the recently released figures, Susan Daniels, CEO, at the National Deaf Children’s Society said;
“Deafness is not a learning disability so having a widening gap in GCSE attainment is simply unacceptable. The dwindling support from local authorities for qualified deaf teachers is resulting in deaf children being set up to fail and lagging behind throughout their education. It’s crucial that the Government takes action to clarify how local authorities will be properly held to account for failing deaf children.”
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