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‘Lost generation’ of deaf children falling a grade behind at GCSE

Published Date: 13 Feb 2019
  • England’s deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE, even though deafness is not a learning disability.
  • Less than half of deaf children achieve a grade 4 or above in both Maths and English, compared to almost three quarters of other children.
  • New analysis shows it will take 21 years for deaf children to catch up, resulting in an entire generation of deaf children underachieving.
  • The National Deaf Children’s Society says the current situation is “utterly unacceptable” and it is calling on the Government to provide the funding that deaf education desperately needs.

A ‘lost generation’ of deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing classmates and most leave school with less than a grade 4/C in English and Maths, new Government data shows.

The results also reveal that despite the best efforts of deaf children to catch up with their peers, the gap between them will now take 21 years to close.

The new analysis comes from the National Deaf Children’s Society, which examined the Department for Education’s 2018 attainment figures.

It found that the average GCSE grade for a child without special educational needs or a disability per subject is 5, a strong C under the old system. For deaf children, this falls to 3.9, historically a grade D.

Less than half (48%) of deaf children now achieve a grade 4 or above in both Maths and English, compared to almost three quarters (71%) of other children.

Deaf children are also arriving at secondary school having already fallen behind. Less than half (43%) achieve the expected standard at reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2 compared to 74% of other children.

There are similar concerns at Key Stage 1, with just over half (53%) of deaf children reaching the required standard, compared to 84% of their peers.

The National Deaf Children’s Society says that while there has been a slight improvement in deaf children’s grades since last year, it will take more than two decades to close the gap, resulting in a lost generation of deaf children.

The charity says that the situation is “utterly unacceptable” four years on from the biggest reforms to special needs education in decades. As a result, it is calling on the Government to provide additional funding so that every deaf child gets the support they need at school.

Susan Daniels OBE, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“These figures show the true depth of the crisis engulfing deaf education in this country. How much evidence does the Department for Education need before it acts?

“Deafness is not a learning disability, but deaf children are still falling a whole grade behind their classmates. Meanwhile, the Government is starving local councils of funding, meaning their support is cut back and their specialist teachers are being laid off.

“The Government needs to address the gap in results urgently and begin to adequately fund the support deaf children need. It promised every child in this country a world class education, but until deaf and hearing children progress and achieve at the same level, it is failing to deliver and that is utterly unacceptable.”

Average attainment 8 scores:

Year

Deaf children

Children with no identified SEN

All children

2018

39.2

49.8

46.5

2017

37.5

49.5

46.3

2016

42.5

53.2

49.9

2015

41

52

48.4

*Attainment 8 measures a student’s average grade across eight subjects. English and Maths count twice.

Percentage of children achieving a grade 4/C or above in both English and Maths:

Year

Deaf children

Children with no identified SEN

All children

2018

48%

70.6%

64.2%

2017

46.1%

70.4%

63.9%

Figures for children reaching the expected standard in 2018:

Key Stage 2

 

Deaf children

Children with no identified SEN

All children

Reading, writing and maths overall

43%

74%

64%

Reading

56%

83%

75%

Writing

59%

88%

78%

Grammar, punctuation and spelling

59%

87%

78%

Maths

56%

84%

76%

Key Stage 1

Year

Deaf children

Children with no identified SEN

All children

Reading

53%

84%

75%

Writing

48%

79%

70%

Maths

52%

84%

76%

Science

60%

90%

83%