Teacher recruitment crisis undermining deaf children’s education

New data shows just four in every ten deaf children in England achieving good GCSEs, compared to six in every ten of their hearing peers.

The Government's new progress 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.

The figures (published by the Department of Education on 19 January) come at a time when fully qualified Teachers of the Deaf are increasingly scarce. Research (carried out by the Consortium for Research into Deaf Education in 2016) shows that the number of qualified Teachers of the Deaf in England has fallen by 6% in a year and over half of them are due to retire in the next 10 to 15 years. 

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 set up a central bursary fund, so that teachers don't have to pay for their own training and local authorities can afford to send teachers on specialist courses.

Brian Gale OBE, the charity’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, said: “Deafness is not a learning disability; there is no reason why deaf children cannot 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.”