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1 in 10 deaf children in Scotland leave school with nothing

Published Date: 06 Aug 2019

Less than a third of Scotland’s deaf pupils make it to university and one in ten leave school with no qualifications at all, the National Deaf Children’s Society has warned.

The charity’s new figures, based on analysis of the Scottish Government’s 2018 attainment data, show huge gaps between the results of deaf and hearing pupils.

According to the findings, less than one in three deaf pupils (29%) go to university, compared to almost half (45%) of their hearing classmates.

The gap is even wider for gaining Highers and Advanced Highers, with less than half of deaf students (43%) achieving both, compared to almost three quarters (71%) of hearing students.

Almost one in ten deaf young people (8%) are also leaving school without any qualifications, compared to one in a hundred (1%) of their hearing peers.

The National Deaf Children’s Society says deaf children are achieving lower grades because they are being starved of support and begin a “lifetime of being left behind” when they start school. Many deaf children now fall short of their potential at every stage of their education.

Scotland’s 3,300 deaf children have already lost nearly a third (29%) of their specialist teachers in the last eight years. In addition, nearly half of those remaining are due to retire in the next 10-15 years, leaving the profession staring down the barrel of a recruitment crisis.

As a result, the National Deaf Children’s Society is urging the Scottish Government and local authorities to urgently invest in deaf education.

The charity says an immediate cash injection is urgently required to boost the skills of existing support workers, making key support available for deaf children in every classroom.

It also wants the Scottish Government to introduce a bursary to train new specialist teachers to avert a recruitment crisis. These new fully qualified professionals would provide crucial one-on-one support for deaf children, families and classroom teachers from a child’s diagnosis right through to the end of their education.

Alasdair O’Hara, who leads the National Deaf Children’s Society’s campaigning work in Scotland, said:

“Deaf children arrive at school with amazing potential only for many to be left behind. While some are achieving excellent results and going on to their dream jobs, these results show that many more are being let down by the education system they rely on.

“We know that every deaf child can thrive at school if they receive the right support, but until the funding for that is put in place, many will continue to struggle.

“Despite the best intentions of the Scottish Government, the system is still failing and so much more needs to be done to make sure we are getting it right for every deaf child in Scotland. The Scottish Government must act quickly by investing in deaf education and introducing a bursary to ensure that the right support is available in our classrooms.

“Every child deserves the chance to shine at school, and deaf children are no exception.”