William Eichler 13 February 2019

Whitehall cuts result in ‘lost generation’ of deaf children

England’s deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing class mates despite deafness not being a learning disability, a charity has warned.

Research from the National Deaf Children’s Society has revealed that less than half (48%) of deaf children achieve a C or above in both Maths and English, compared to almost three quarters (71%) of other children.

Deaf children are also starting 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.

The deafness charity, which examined the Department for Education’s 2018 attainment figures, estimates it will take 21 years for deaf children to catch up, resulting in an entire generation of deaf children underachieving.

‘Deafness is not a learning disability, but deaf children are still falling a whole grade behind their classmates,’ said Susan Daniels OBE, chief executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society.

‘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.’

Responding to the charity’s findings, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘Councils know that deafness can make life incredibly difficult for some children who experience it, and are doing all they can to support all children with special educational needs and disabilities to make sure they get the education they deserve.

‘However, councils are reaching the point where the money is simply not there to keep up with demand, pushing support for children with SEND to a tipping point.

‘While it was good the Government announced money for SEND last year, it must use the forthcoming Spending Review to plug the estimated special needs funding gap facing councils of up to £1.6bn by 2021.’

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