Deaf young people not achieving same qualifications as hearing peers

30 March 2017

Data published by the Department for Education today (Thursday 30 March) shows deaf young people in England are still failing to achieve the same qualifications as their hearing peers.

Front cover of the 2015 edition of Supporting achievement Further education.

In 2016, 44% of deaf young people had achieved two A-Levels or equivalent technical qualifications by age 19 – a slight improvement on 43% in 2015.

While the attainment gap has narrowed, this still means that well over half of deaf young people are failing to achieve A-level standard qualifications, compared to just 35% of those with no identified special educational need (SEN).

The National Deaf Children’s Society is calling on the Department for Education to take action to close this gap sooner, and has expressed disappointment that the SEN reforms of 2014 have not proven more effective in doing so. 

Martin McLean, the charity’s Education and Training Policy Advisor, said: “Deafness is not a learning disability; there is no reason why deaf young people cannot achieve the same things as their hearing friends, given the right support.

“We had high expectations that the SEN reforms would help deaf young people to achieve higher qualifications, but sadly today’s figures suggest they are not yet having the desired impact.

“The Government needs to do more to ensure that colleges, schools and apprenticeship providers can put specialist support in place to help deaf students to make up ground lost earlier in education.”

Notes to editors

Data source:

• The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and their families. 
• There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. The National Deaf Children’s Society helps deaf children and young people thrive by providing impartial, practical and emotional support to them and their families, and by challenging governments and society to meet their needs.
• We believe that every deaf child should be valued and included by society and have the same opportunities as any other child. 
• For more information visit  For further support, parents can contact the National Deaf Children’s Society Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text), email, or chat online at 

Source: NDCS