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Teaching Units For Deaf Children Keep Closing Finds Report

February 7, 2019

Ten dedicated teaching units for deaf children in schools are being closed every year, according to a new report.

The latest study by the Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) and the National Deaf Children’s Society found that the number of facilities for deaf children in schools had fallen from 260 to 240 in the past two years, a drop of 8%.

The research found that the number of specialist teachers working in such units had fallen by 10% in the past two years and 21% since 2014. Remaining teachers have also seen their caseloads soar by more than a third (36%) to 60 children.

The National Deaf Children’s Society said that deaf pupils who lose their unit or specialist teacher miss out on crucial one-to-one support at school, while teachers and teaching assistants were left without advice and training on teaching deaf children.

They argued that specialist units gave deaf pupils the opportunity to be educated alongside pupils who could hear, while also providing them with a peer group of deaf friends.

The charity warned that the cuts could lead deaf pupils to fall even further behind at school and reduce parental choice as to how their children were educated.

They raised concerns that, in many areas, schools and local authorities were failing to inform parents of the existence of specialist units, which then allowed them to close them due to low pupil numbers.

Susan Daniels, chief executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said the figures showed the pressures on the education of deaf children. “Their support is being reduced, their specialist teachers are being cut and, unsurprisingly, their grades at school have started to get worse,” she said.

“This government has reformed special needs education and promised greater choice for parents and a world-class education for every child, yet deaf children are still falling a grade behind at GCSE.

“There are many simple, cost-effective solutions available that would have an incredible impact on deaf children’s lives. It is time for the government to step up, get a grip of the situation and make the investment that is so desperately needed.”

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