Progress 8 highlights failure in deaf children’s education

19 January 2017

As new Department for Education figures highlight the attainment gap between deaf and hearing children, a leading national charity has raised concerns that a recruitment crisis will further undermine deaf children’s education.

Deaf GCSE student

Data published today shows just 41.3% of deaf children in England achieving good GCSEs, compared to 63.9% of their hearing peers [1]. The new Progress 8 measure also shows that deaf children not only start school at a disadvantage, but fall even further behind their hearing peers as they move through secondary school [2].

These figures come at a time when fully qualified Teachers of the Deaf are increasingly scarce and more than half of the current workforce is close to retirement [3]. Many local authorities are not training new Teachers of the Deaf, leaving services across the country unable to recruit.

The National Deaf Children’s Society is calling on the Department for Education to take action to address the looming recruitment crisis, by setting up a central bursary fund and requiring local authorities to regionally commission training places. 

Brian Gale OBE, the charity’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, said: “It’s deeply concerning that deaf children are not making the progress they should be during secondary school. Deafness is not a learning disability; there is no reason why deaf children can’t achieve the same things as their hearing friends, given the right support. 

“Most deaf children attend mainstream schools, so the specialist advice of Teachers of the Deaf is vital to ensuring deaf children achieve their academic potential. Today’s figures will be of great concern to parents whose children rely on Teachers of the Deaf.”




[1] ‘Good’ in this instance means five GCSEs (inc. English and Maths) at grades A* to C. Department for Education (DfE) 2015-16 data shows 41.3% of deaf children achieving five GCSEs (inc. English & Maths) at A*-C grade, compared with 63.9% of children with no identified special educational need. Please see attached briefing note on attainment for deaf children in 2016 or go to

[2] Progress 8 (average progress of children from KS3-4) shows deaf children at -0.05 points, meaning they are making less progress than their peers, whilst children with no identified special educational need are at +0.06 points meaning they are making better progress than expected. Please see attached briefing note on attainment for deaf children in 2016 for more details, or go to

[3] Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) 2016 data shows that the number of qualified Teachers of the Deaf in England has fallen by 6% in a year, and over half of all Teachers of the Deaf are due to retire in the next 10 to 15 years. Full details can be found at


Notes to editors

• The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity for deaf children and young people. Our vision is a world without barriers for deaf children and their families.

• The Youth Advisory Board is a group of 16 deaf young people from across the UK who inform the work of the charity and help campaign for change.

• There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. The National Deaf Children’s Society helps them thrive by providing impartial, practical and emotional support to children and families, and by challenging governments and society to meet their needs.

• For more information visit  For further support, parents can contact our free Helpline 0808 800 8880 (voice and text),, or 


Source: NDCS