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1 in 20 teachers think the education system supports deaf children

Published Date: 11 Oct 2022

• Only 5% of teachers believe no changes are needed to the current system for deaf children to reach their full potential.
• Deaf children already achieve an entire grade less at GCSE, even though deafness is not a learning disability.
• Charity calls on Government to invest in more specialist staff to support deaf students and prevent them falling behind at school.

Just one in 20 teachers think the current education system allows deaf children to hit their full potential, a new survey from the National Deaf Children’s Society reveals.

The poll, of around 5,700 primary and secondary school teachers, released today, found six in ten teachers believe deaf children will continue to underachieve at school without changes to the current system.

Even though deafness is not a learning disability, deaf children already achieve less than their hearing classmates at every stage of school on average.

In August, the charity revealed deaf pupils achieved an entire grade less at GCSE, for the seventh consecutive year. The National Deaf Children’s Society says deaf young people are being consistently failed by the education system.

The Department for Education is currently reviewing how disabled children are supported in schools as part of its Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Review.

The charity urges the Government to use this opportunity to develop a plan to provide effective, long-term specialist support. It wants to see investment in more Teachers of the Deaf, whose numbers have been slashed by 17% in a decade.

Teachers of the Deaf are qualified teachers who have taken further training and qualified to teach children with a hearing loss. They provide support to deaf children, their parents and family, and to other professionals who are involved with a child's education, particularly mainstream schools which may only have one deaf pupil.

Without this investment, the charity says there could be a long-term, devastating effect on deaf children’s education, with future generations also left to struggle.

There are currently around 33,000 deaf children in schools across England, with the vast majority (84%) in mainstream schools.

Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“The overwhelming message from teachers across England is that the current system prevents them from helping deaf children to reach their full potential in school, which is a damning indictment.

“Deaf children already achieve less than their hearing classmates at every stage of school and it is gut-wrenching that most teachers do not believe this will change.

“The Government must use the SEND review to finally level the playing field for deaf pupils by investing in more Teachers of the Deaf. Failing to do so will leave thousands of deaf children to struggle on alone.”


For more information, including case studies, please contact the National Deaf Children’s Society media team on 020 7014 1146/1149, [email protected]

Notes to editors

• Teacher Tapp is a daily survey app that asks over 7,000 teachers questions each day and reweights the results to make them representative.
• Teacher Tapp surveyed around 5,700 teachers on 13 August 2022 on behalf of the National Deaf Children’s Society.
• In 2021, the Department for Education’s attainment data showed deaf children achieved, on average, a grade 4 at GCSE, compared to a grade 5 for all children. The 2022 results are not yet available.
• There are more than 45,000 deaf children in England, of whom around 33,000 are of school age. 84% attend mainstream schools.
• When responding to the statement ‘Without changes to the current system, deaf children will continue to underachieve at school,’
16% of teachers strongly agreed 42% agreed 14% neither agreed nor disagreed 4% disagreed 1% strongly disagreed 21% did not know and 3% selected not relevant / cannot answer.