Deaf children in the North West are falling almost an entire grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE, according to new analysis by the National Deaf Children’s Society.
The charity issued the warning after analysing the Department for Education’s 2018 exam results data, which showed that the region’s deaf children score an average grade of 4.11 across eight key subjects. For hearing children, this rises to 4.86.
Most deaf children in the North West are also beginning their education having already fallen behind their new classmates. Less than half (41%) have achieved a good level of development in key areas like literacy, maths and communication by the time they start school, compared to three quarters (74%) of hearing children.
There are 4,768 deaf children in the North West and the National Deaf Children’s Society says there’s no reason why any of them should under-achieve if they get the right support. However, these gaps in achievement show that they’re clearly not receiving it.
Specialist teachers for deaf children, who provide crucial support for these children and their families across the North West, have fallen by 24% over the past seven years.
As a result, the charity is calling on the Government to get a grip on the situation and halt this crisis by funding the support every deaf child needs.
It says this should start with the introduction of a dedicated bursary to provide new specialist teachers in the North West, enabling every deaf child to succeed at school.
Martin Thacker, Deputy Director at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:
“Deaf children arrive at school with amazing potential only to begin a lifetime of being left behind. While some of them are achieving excellent results and going on to their dream jobs, these results show that many more are being completely failed by the system they rely on.
“The new Education Secretary Gavin Williamson now has a golden opportunity to change the lives of more than 4,000 deaf children in the North West by investing in their support and reversing devastating cuts to staff.
“Every child deserves the chance to shine at school, and deaf children are no exception.”