Deaf children in the West Midlands are falling an entire grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE level, 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 3.78 across eight key subjects. For hearing children, this rises to 4.85.

Most deaf children in the West Midlands are also beginning their education having already fallen behind their new classmates. Less than one in three (29%) have achieved a good level of development in key areas like literacy, maths and communication by the time they start school, compared to more than three quarters (78%) of hearing children.


Lagging behind

  • New analysis shows that the region’s deaf pupils fall a grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE.
  • Most of them also start school having already fallen behind their new classmates, leaving them with a huge battle to catch up.
  • Figures also show that specialist teachers for deaf children in the West Midlands have fallen by 14% since 2011.
  • The National Deaf Children’s Society wants the Government to “get a grip on the situation” and fund more specialist teachers across the West Midlands so every deaf child can reach their potential at school.

There are 5,397 deaf children in the West Midlands 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 West Midlands, have fallen by 14% over the past seven years.

As a result, the National Deaf Children’s Society 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 West Midlands, enabling every deaf child to succeed at school.

There are more than 50,000 deaf children living in the UK and 32 million deaf children globallyNDCS
There are more than 50,000 deaf children living in the UK and 32 million deaf children globally

Deaf children

  • There are more than 50,000 deaf children living in the UK and 32 million deaf children globally.
  • 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little or no experience of deafness.
  • Deafness is not a learning disability; with the right support, deaf children can achieve anything other children can.
  • Five babies are born deaf every day.
  • Half of deaf children are born deaf and the other half become deaf during childhood.

The word ‘deaf’ to refer to all levels of deafness and hearing loss.


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 5,000 deaf children in the West Midlands 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.”

According to the NDCS, all exam results figures were obtained from analysis of the Department for Education’s 2018 attainment data and the figures for Teachers of the Deaf come from an annual survey carried out by the Consortium for Research in Deaf Education.

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