The Government now has a “golden opportunity to right generations of injustices” by providing accessible learning and better support immediately.
Deaf children in England have been failed by the education system for the fifth consecutive year, new analysis has revealed.
The National Deaf Children’s Society says that 2019’s GCSE results show deaf pupils have again achieved an entire grade less than their hearing classmates, with the gap between them now getting wider.
According to the figures, the average Attainment 8 score for deaf children last year was 38.6, compared to 49.9 for hearing children.
In 2018, it was 39.2 for deaf children and 49.8 among hearing children. All figures have been obtained from analysis of the Department for Education’s 2019 attainment data.
The figures, which go back to the introduction of Attainment 8 in 2015, show a gap of an entire grade every year. The charity has also calculated that the current rate of improvement, it will take at least 24 years for deaf and hearing children to achieve the same results.
The charity says that deafness is not a learning disability, so the gap in results is down to ineffective education policy and the Government’s failure to tackle the key challenges affecting deaf children’s education.
Worse still, as deaf pupils anxiously await their grades in 2020, the charity also fears that because coronavirus has severely affected the support available during a crucial period of their education, the gap could grow wider still.
The new data also shows a significant difference in achievement for English and Maths, with less than half of deaf pupils (48.2%) achieving at least a grade 4, compared to almost three quarters of hearing pupils (71%).
The National Deaf Children’s Society says that the problem runs right through the heart of education, with many deaf children finding themselves behind before they even reach secondary school.
Last year less than half (44%) reached the expected standard for reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2, compared to three quarters (74%) of hearing children.
The charity says deaf children have been seriously disadvantaged because the coronavirus pandemic made it much more difficult for them to get support from the key staff they rely on. In addition, despite the best efforts of schools, many resources offered for learning at home were simply not accessible to deaf pupils due to a lack of subtitles and translation into British Sign Language.