New GCSE figures show extensive attainment gap for deaf children

NDCS-logoLatest government figures issued by the Department for Education today [21 January 2016] show that GCSE attainment levels for deaf young people in England have improved.

In 2015 41.1% of deaf young people achieved five GCSEs (including English and Maths) at grades A* to C, compared to 36.3% of deaf children in 2014.

However, almost two thirds (58.9%) of deaf children are failing to achieve the government’s expected benchmark of five GCSEs at grade A* – C (inc. English and Maths), compared to just 35.8% of other children with no identified special educational need.

Alongside these results, a recent report issued by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) on behalf of the Consortium for Research in Deaf Education (CRIDE), shows that England’s local authorities have reported a 4% decline in the numbers of qualified Teachers of the Deaf in the last 5 years. This is particularly concerning given that the numbers of deaf children in England identified by local authorities has risen to over 41,377 this year, up 2% over the past year.

The CRIDE report has also revealed that The School Census continues to under-record the number of deaf children, with 42% not being picked up at all.   The 23,945 deaf children identified by the School Census amounts to 58% of the 41,377 deaf children identified by CRIDE. This demonstrates that large numbers of deaf children are invisible to the Government. It raises questions as to whether they are getting the specialist help that they need.

Commenting on the recently released figures, Susan Daniels, CEO, at the National Deaf Children’s Society said:

“It is good to see that the number of deaf young people achieving five good GCSEs is increasing. However there is still an alarming gap in attainment. Too many deaf children do not get the specialist support they need in the classroom. Deafness is not a learning disability and there is no reason why most deaf children should not be performing as well as their hearing peers.

“The number of deaf children not being identified in the School Census is also worrying and demonstrates that the Government does not have a grip on data for deaf children. Ultimately, this raises real fears about whether these children are getting the support they need. The Government urgently needs to start taking responsibility and ensure that all deaf children have access to high quality education support that will allow them to thrive.”

The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and their families. For more information visit www.ndcs.org.uk.  For further support, parents can contact the National Deaf Children’s Society Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text), email helpline@ndcs.org.uk, or chat online at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat

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