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Additional support in England

All children have the right to attend childcare and school and to have their needs met. This includes children with all types and levels of deafness who may have special educational needs (SEN) and need additional support.

Deaf children may need extra support in education so they can achieve and make good progress in their education. For most deaf children, their childcare setting or school will be able to provide this support, but some may need a formal plan which legally sets out what support they need and how this will be provided. 

The type of support available for your deaf child will depend on: 

  • the type of school they’re attending or are planning to attend (for example, a mainstream school vs a special school)
  • their support needs in school.

Special educational needs (SEN)  

A child has SEN if they have a disability or learning difficulty which means they need extra or specialised support to access their education. For example, a deaf child may need speech and language therapy or a radio aid to hear the teacher.   

Not all deaf children have SEN. In England, around 40% of deaf children are not formally identified as having SEN.   

Your child’s school is responsible for identifying and supporting children with SEN. If your child is identified as having SEN, their school must take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective support in place.  

If you think your child has SEN, you should talk to your child’s teacher or school principal. The school may also put you in touch with their special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). The SENCO can discuss your child’s needs in more details, the support available within the school, and how your child can get additional support if needed. 

Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice (GOV.UK).

SEN support in school 

Schools typically provide SEN support as part of a four-part cycle known as ‘assess, plan, do and review’. In this cycle, teachers: 

  • use the information they have gathered about your child’s needs (assess)
  • plan the provision they will put into place to support them (plan)
  • put the provision in place (do)
  • review how effective it was (review).  

Most deaf children and young people’s needs can be met from within the school’s own resources along with support from their local authority’s sensory service, so there may be no need to go beyond the SEN support stage.  

If your child’s school cannot provide enough support themselves, you or the school can ask for a formal assessment of their education, health and care (EHC) needs, possibly leading to an EHC plan.