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Missing Crucial Support Will Lead to Gap Between Deaf & Hearing Children Getting Wider Across North West

Seven in ten teachers across the North West don’t know how to teach a deaf child

  • 70% of teachers aren’t confident they can teach deaf children effectively.
  • Two in five aren’t receiving crucial support from specialist staff.
  • Deaf children in the region already get lower scores at GCSE, even though deafness isn’t a learning disability.
  • The National Deaf Children’s Society says the “shocking” findings must lead to urgent investment in specialist teachers.

Seven in ten teachers across the North West say they don’t know how to educate deaf students, a new survey from the National Deaf Children’s Society suggests.

The poll, carried out among 586 of the region’s primary and secondary school teachers, reveals that 70% don’t feel confident they can adapt the curriculum and teach a deaf child effectively.

Almost all respondents (97%) said if they were teaching a deaf pupil, they’d need ongoing support from someone with expert knowledge, such as a Teacher of the Deaf. However, two fifths (41%) had received no such support.

There are currently around 4,800 deaf children in schools across the North West, the vast majority of whom attend mainstream schools.

Even though deafness isn’t a learning disability, deaf children in the region already achieve less than their hearing classmates at every stage of school, including almost an entire grade lower at GCSE on average.

Disabled children across England are supported by the SEND system, which the Government is set to review later this year, and the National Deaf Children’s Society says that more investment in specialist teaching staff is desperately needed.

Without it, the charity says the gap in results between deaf and hearing children will only get wider.

It says any investment must focus on Teachers of the Deaf, who play an instrumental role in deaf children’s lives. In the North West, Teachers of the Deaf have been cut by 23% since 2011.

Martin Thacker, Deputy Director at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“Thousands of deaf children are walking into classrooms across the North West with a very good chance that their teacher won’t know how to educate them effectively. This should shock everyone responsible for funding deaf education to their core.

“Teachers across the region are battling incredible pressures every day and they can’t be specialists in every disability, so it’s crucial they get the expert knowledge and support they need. All too often, this simply isn’t being delivered.

“The Government needs to address this quickly and the upcoming SEND review is the perfect opportunity. By investing in more specialist support immediately, we can give every deaf child in the North West the chance to reach their potential.” 



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