Close the Gap
Welsh Government statistics show significant attainment gaps between deaf pupils and their peers at every Key Stage.
NDCS Cymru recognises that much hard work is being done to support deaf children in their studies, but more action is needed.
That is why we have launched a petition calling on the Welsh Government to develop a national strategy to Close the Gap! in educational attainment for deaf pupils.
Read more about the attainment data>
Evidence to Petitions Committee - December 2014
NDCS Cymru had a very productive session giving evidence to the National Assembly for Wales’ Petitions Committee on acoustics in schools. NDCS Cymru had presented a petition to the committee in May 2013 calling for action to Close the Gap in educational attainment between deaf and hearing pupils. The committee decided to focus on acoustics, which had been identified as one of the principle barriers faced by deaf children and young people in school.
NDCS Cymru was invited to give evidence to the committee on the importance of a good acoustic environment in classrooms. Wales Director, Jayne Dulson and Policy Adviser, Elin Wyn attended as well as Peter Rogers a Fellow of the Institute of Acoustics and an adviser to NDCS. We were also delighted that Danyiaal Munir, a student at Cardiff and Vale College could join us to talk about his experiences as a deaf pupil. Danyiaal was part of the group of young people that created the original video petition in May 2013.
After a brief introduction we played some simulations of how a noisy classroom sounds to a deaf child wearing hearing aids and how a similar classroom sounds after it has been acoustically treated. The listening conditions weren’t perfect, as the committee room itself had strong reverberation, but the Assembly members did get to understand the challenges facing deaf pupils.
The chair, William Powell AM, asked what changes we wanted to see in legislation to improve acoustics in schools. We spoke about the need for testing all classrooms to make sure that they are of an adequate acoustic standard. This was an excellent opportunity to mention the new NDCS Acoustics Toolkit and Quality Marks.
Creating good listening conditions for learning in educationThere
were also questions from Russell George AM and Joyce Watson AM about
the cost of retrofitting old classrooms to improve acoustics and how
private nurseries could be compelled to comply with acoustic
The next step is for the committee to invite more organisations to give evidence and possibly to visit a school with high acoustic standards.
We look forward to working with the committee members in future and hope that this will be the first step to ensuring that all our schools Sound Good and that conditions for deaf and hearing pupils improve.
You can read the evidence we presented to the committee here Acoustics Briefing (181 kb)
You can watch the evidence session on senedd.tv Petitions Committee 9th December
Update - November 2014
We are delighted that the Petitions Committee has decided to look in detail at one aspect of our Close the Gap petition - namely acoustics in schools.
The Committee has decided to gather evidence from a range of organisations on acoustics in schools and will then write a report on the issue.
NDCS Cymru will be the first group to give evidence on Tuesday 9 December at 10am.
You can watch the session live on the web at www.senedd.tv
Close the Gap petition – January 2014
The National Assembly for Wales’ Petitions Committee met again on 21 January to discuss our petition calling for a national strategy to improve the educational attainment gap between deaf and hearing pupils.
Close the Gap Petition – November 2013
The National Assembly Petitions committee met again on the 11 November and had a short discussion on our Close the Gap petition. They are considering commissioning a piece of work about the issues raised in the petition, but before deciding to do that wanted further clarification on our response to the letters they had received. The response we sent is below. We still feel that the Welsh Government need to have a national strategy to address the gap in attainment between deaf and hearing pupils.
On 7 May 2013, NDCS Cymru submitted a petition to the Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee. Our petition calls for a strategy to address the barriers that deaf children and young people face at school and college and to Close the Gap! in attainment.
NDCS Cymru asked the experts – deaf young people themselves – to tell us about what key points must be included in such a strategy. These things are outlined in our short video.
The Petitions Committee initially discussed our petition on 14 May 2013 and praised our video as a “powerful piece of work.” The Committee decided to write to Leighton Andrews AM (then-Minister for Education and Skills) for his views on the points raised. NDCS Cymru was also asked to respond to the Minister’s letter.
On 2 July, the Committee again discussed our petition and decided to seek the views of other interested organisations, including the All Party Group on Deaf Issues, before considering the petition further.
Our petition report highlights the barriers that deaf children and young people face within the areas outlined on the video. It also makes suggestions about how a strategy could address these barriers.
NDCS Cymru would like to say a special thank you to Caitlin, Daniyaal, Gwion, Jay, Jodie, Kurtis, Leam, and Ryan for advising us on the things that matter most to deaf pupils and for their help in creating our video.