New GCSE figures show extensive attainment gap for deaf children

21 January 2016

Latest government figures issued by the Department for Education today [21 January 2016] show that GCSE attainment levels for deaf young people in England have improved.


In 2015 41.1% of deaf young people achieved five GCSEs (including English and Maths) at grades A* to C, compared to 36.3% of deaf children in 2014.

However, almost two thirds (58.9%) of deaf children are failing to achieve the government’s expected benchmark of five GCSEs at grade A* - C (inc. English and Maths), compared to just 35.8% of other children with no identified special educational need.

Alongside these results, a recent report issued by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) on behalf of the Consortium for Research in Deaf Education (CRIDE), shows that England’s local authorities have reported a 4% decline in the numbers of qualified Teachers of the Deaf in the last 5 years. This is particularly concerning given that the numbers of deaf children in England identified by local authorities has risen to over 41,377 this year, up 2% over the past year.

The CRIDE report has also revealed that The School Census continues to under-record the number of deaf children, with 42% not being picked up at all.   The 23,945 deaf children identified by the School Census amounts to 58% of the 41,377 deaf children identified by CRIDE. This demonstrates that large numbers of deaf children are invisible to the Government. It raises questions as to whether they are getting the specialist help that they need. . 

Commenting on the recently released figures, Susan Daniels, CEO, at the National Deaf Children’s Society said:

“It is good to see that the number of deaf young people achieving five good GCSEs is increasing. However there is still an alarming gap in attainment. Too many deaf children do not get the specialist support they need in the classroom. Deafness is not a learning disability and there is no reason why most deaf children should not be performing as well as their hearing peers.

“The number of deaf children not being identified in the School Census is also worrying and demonstrates that the Government does not have a grip on data for deaf children. Ultimately, this raises real fears about whether these children are getting the support they need. The Government urgently needs to start taking responsibility and ensure that all deaf children have access to high quality education support that will allow them to thrive.”


For further information please contact Charlotte Coombes: 0207 014 1149,  and Priya Manek on 020 7014 1146


Notes to editors

·         GCSE figures referred to as those for 5 GCSEs (including English and Maths) at grades A* to C, which is the government’s main benchmark for GCSEs. 

·         CRIDE report results applies to England only

·         Research was based on the educational staffing and service provision for deaf children in the 2013/14, across England.

·         CRIDE is a consortium bringing together a range of organisations and individuals with a common interest in improving the educational outcomes achieved by deaf children through research. At the time the 2015 survey was issued, representatives included: the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD), City University London, the Ear Foundation, the Ewing Foundation, the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP), Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children, Mary Hare School, the specialist education service for deaf children in Kent, Norfolk and the Highlands, University of Leeds and UCL.

·         The CRIDE report in full


·         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.

·         The National Deaf Children’s Society believes 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