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More information about our Deaf Education map

Published Date: 21 Sep 2023

Our map aims to help you compare the education support available for deaf children in your area with other areas. In this blog, we provide some background about the information we’ve used for this map.

Where the information comes from

Information about numbers of deaf children, visiting Teachers of the Deaf and the number of resource provisions comes from the Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) survey. This is an annual survey where local authorities are asked to provide information on deaf children in their area and about their specialist education service for deaf children.

When responding to the CRIDE survey, local authorities are asked to provide information for the 31 January of each year. We use a fixed point in time to provide a snapshot view and to enable us to make fair comparisons between different areas and years. However, this may mean that some information has changed since the local authority responded to the CRIDE survey. We aim to update the information from CRIDE every autumn once we have received, checked and analysed all responses to the survey. 

You can find out more about CRIDE at

Information about reductions, vacancies and reviews mostly comes from our Improving Futures Freedom of Information requests sent to local authorities every year to ask about spending plans and current staffing. We aim to update this information as quickly as possible. You will see a date in the box for each area showing when this information was last updated. This information sometimes provides updates to the CRIDE data, e.g. where numbers of staff in post have increased due to vacancies being filled.

Information about Children’s Hearing Services Working Groups (CHSWGs) and the locations of specialist units for deaf children and schools for deaf children in an area comes from information obtained by us.

What do we mean by your local area?

Most of the time, when we say ‘local area’, we mean the area covered by your local authority or council. Local authorities are responsible for specialist education services for deaf children.

In some areas, there are ‘two-tier’ councils where responsibilities are split between the larger county council and smaller district councils. In these areas, the county council will be responsible for education. On our map, information about your area will be shown under your county council.

Also, in some cases, the local area covers more than one local authority because they have decided to work together to deliver a combined specialist education service for deaf children.

How reliable is the information we hold?

We think the information we hold is the best available, though it should still be used with care. Sometimes there may be issues with how information is reported by the local authority. For example, this might be because the local authority:

  • have made changes to their databases.
  • doesn’t collect all the information we need. For example, we know some databases only include information on deaf children who are being actively supported by the service, rather than all the deaf children that live in the area they cover. We also know that some local authorities do not hold information on children over 16 who have left school.
  • was not able to respond to our requests for information. This was a particular issue in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic first started.

Where we do not hold information about something for a local area, you will see ‘no data’ rather than a number or ratio.  

In some cases, local authorities may give us figures which appear to be a mistake or an anomaly – for example, a large drop in the number of children they support. Where this happens, CRIDE will seek to check and clarify the figures with the local authority. However, they do not always receive a response.

For this map, we have decided to use the figures given to us by the local authority on numbers of deaf children, Teachers of the Deaf and units even where it appears to sit at odds with figures given in other years.

Sometimes, the numbers can only tell us half the story. However, they can be a really useful starting point for finding out more about what is happening in your area and to give you ideas about questions you may want to ask or look into further. We hope that this map will help you to do this.

What is the information telling us?

Number of deaf children living in the area

In the CRIDE survey, local authorities are asked to tell us how many permanently deaf children there are living in their area, aged 0 to 19. We ask them to tell us about all deaf children, regardless of their level of deafness. Local authorities are also asked to include children who attend school outside their area but whose home is in the local authority.

Number of deaf children supported by the service

This covers children who are on the caseload for the local specialist education service for deaf children. By caseload, we mean children who receive some form of support from a Teacher of the Deaf.

If local authorities support children with temporary hearing loss, they are able to include these children in their caseload figures. This means that these figures can sometimes be higher than the figure for number of permanently deaf children living in an area.

These figures come from CRIDE. CRIDE sometimes change the definitions used in their surveys. In 2021, CRIDE asked about numbers who received support at least once a year. Before 2021, CRIDE asked about numbers who received support more than once a year. This means that you should be careful when comparing numbers between different years – the change in definition would mean that we would normally expect the 2021 figure to be the same or higher than in previous years.

Most local authority specialist education services will have some kind of framework in place to decide how much support each individual child will receive. This will take into account each child’s individual needs (for example, how well their language is developing). However, the level of support provided may also depend on the funding available to the service.

You should also note that services will vary in how support is provided, depending on how they work and on the needs of the deaf child. For example, in some cases, a Teacher of the Deaf may provide direct support to deaf children. In other cases, they may focus more on advising and training classroom teachers and teaching assistants.

Number of visiting Teachers of the Deaf

Visiting Teachers of the Deaf (sometimes called ‘peripatetic’ Teachers of the Deaf) visit families of pre-school deaf children in the home and in early year settings. They also visit mainstream schools and colleges to provide support to teachers and to individual deaf children.

Visiting Teachers of the Deaf are different to Teachers of the Deaf who work in special schools or in resource provisions or specialist units, who will often be teaching classes or small groups of deaf children. Some Teachers of the Deaf may work flexibly between a visiting/peripatetic role and in special schools/specialist units.

CRIDE asks for numbers of Teachers of the Deaf to be given as ‘full time equivalent’ figures. This takes into account whether some Teachers of the Deaf are working part-time. For example, a Teacher of the Deaf who works half the week would be shown as 0.5.

We have included figures for numbers of visiting Teachers of the Deaf who have already qualified or who are currently undergoing training. We have not included others working as Teachers of the Deaf but who are not qualified or not undergoing training. We have also not included any vacant posts.

Specialist units for deaf children

Some mainstream schools will have a specialist unit, hub or resource provision for deaf children as part of the school. Though different terms are used, these are mainstream schools in which deaf children may receive support from a Teacher of the Deaf in separate classes or in small groups, whilst also being taught in classrooms with other children.

On the map, we show what the local authority has told CRIDE about the number of specialist units in your local area.

Where services cover more than one local authority, the number of specialist units shown is for all the areas covered by the service. Where locations of specialist units are shown, these are for the local authority that they operate in. There are therefore occasionally differences between the number of specialist units reported to CRIDE and the number of locations on the map.

We’ve also provided a ratio for the number of specialist units against the overall population of deaf children living in the area.

It’s important to be clear that this is not a measure of the number of places available in each unit or the number of individual deaf children enrolled. Figures for places or deaf children enrolled will vary from school to school.

Instead, what this figure allows you to do is compare the spread of specialist units across your local area, compared to other areas. For example, if local area A has 1 unit for every 150 deaf children living in the area and local area B has 1 unit for every 300 deaf children, this would suggest that local area A has more units compared to their population of deaf children.

Some local areas don’t have any units. Where this is the case, we’ve given a figure of 0 against the total number of deaf children living in that area.

It’s important to use these figures with care. Our figures don’t take into account the sizes of units (in terms of number of places available for deaf children). Also, some areas may have none or relatively fewer schools with specialist units because there is a special school for deaf children in their area or because there is a school with a specialist unit in a nearby neighbouring area which deaf children in their area go to.

However, we hope it’s a useful starting point for asking questions about whether the local authority has enough specialist units in your local area.

Schools for deaf children and young people

Our map shows locations for schools for deaf children and young people.

Local area SEND inspection reports

In England, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been looking into how well different local areas identify and meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Some (but not all) reports have included a reference to specialist support for deaf children. We have included a link to the reports so you can find out more about what Ofsted and the CQC think about your area.

Every local area has been inspected at least once. Some local areas will have been visited again because they have been found to have significant failings and been told to take action to improve. Where this is the case, the most recently available report is the one we’ve provided.

These inspections do not take place in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

Information about any SEND reviews or campaigns 

We monitor closely any changes to support for deaf children in your area. Our map includes information about what we know about any reviews or campaigns underway. If you want to get involved in a campaign or a review in your local area, please click on the ‘Email National Deaf Children’s Society’ button and contact us for details.

Children’s Hearing Services Working Groups (CHSWGs)

CHSWGs are groups which bring together parents of deaf children and professionals who work together to ensure local services across health, education and social care and the voluntary sector meet the needs of local families and are of the best quality. On our map, you can find out about any CHSWGs in your local area.   

We have been involved in CHSWGs from the early days with all groups having a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society staff on them. You can email [email protected] for more about information about CHSWGs in your area. You can also find out more about CHSWGs on our website.

Get in touch

You can email [email protected] to let us know what you think of the map now and what you think we should include in the future.

You can also download the data that is on the map.