New government data shows deaf children’s attainment getting worse

1 February 2018

New data published by the Department for Education shows that at GCSE level, the attainment gap between deaf children and children with no special educational needs (SEN) has widened. Deaf children are now falling 24% behind their classmates, and are achieving more than a whole grade less at GCSE.  


The data also shows that 71% of deaf children do not achieve a good GCSE in English and Maths. This is despite deafness not being a learning disability.

These new figures come within weeks of a report showing that nationally, deaf children’s education is in disarray. The report showed that in the last 7 years, there has been a 14% cut in the number of specialist Teachers of the Deaf, with 15% of council’s now having only one specialist teacher to support over 100 deaf children.

Commenting on this new government data, Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research at the National Deaf Children’s Society said: “Just a couple of weeks ago, the Department for Education were saying our concerns over the state of deaf children’s education was unfounded because their attainment at GCSE was “at a record high”.

“As their own data shows today, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Deaf children are continuing to fall behind their hearing peers, the attainment gap continues to widen, cuts to services are continuing up and down the country, and the Government continues to have absolutely no plan in place to sort this mess out.

“We now have a new team of Ministers at the Department for Education, and my question to them is – what’s your plan to make sure the UK’s 50,000 deaf children get the support they so desperately need?”

Emma Fraser, who has worked as a specialist Teacher of the Deaf for the last 9 years added: “Deafness is not a learning disability, and with the right support, deaf children can absolutely do just as well as any other child at school. It’s so upsetting to see deaf children carry on falling behind. For those children, and for all of their families seeing this new data coming out, we need action now. Anything less is unacceptable.”