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Deaf children need more school support to stop them falling behind in GCSEs

Tuesday 22nd August 2017
Could audiologists play an important role in helping to make sure hard-of-hearing children dont fall behind at school? Image: Vesnaandjic via iStock
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There are calls for UK children who are classified as deaf or hard of hearing to be given extra support while they are at school, so they do not fall behind in their GCSEs.

With GCSE results day falling this week (Thursday August 24th), the National Deaf Children's Society has highlighted that children with reduced or no hearing function often achieve lower exam grades than their hearing counterparts due to a lack of appropriate support for their additional needs throughout their education.

The charity wants to see the UK government, local authorities and health bodies join forces to ensure there is better provision for hard-of-hearing children during their schooling. This will ensure they have an equal chance of obtaining the same grades as their classmates who do not have any disabilities.

However, statistics from the National Deaf Children's Society currently show that deaf children or those with hearing loss typically come in an entire grade behind their contemporaries. The charity believes this indicates a concerning lack of support for these pupils, which could be preventing them from reaching their full potential.

Indeed, data shows that just over one-third (36.3 per cent) of children with hearing problems achieved five A* to C grades including English and maths at GCSE in 2015, compared to 41.1 per cent of their counterparts with normal hearing function.

At the time, this meant that 58.9 per cent of deaf and hard-of-hearing students were failing to meet this target in comparison to just 35.8 per cent of children with no identified special educational needs.

Alison Lawson, regional director at the National Deaf Children's Society, commented: "Deafness is not a learning disability. With the right support, there's no reason deaf children can't achieve the same things as their hearing friends. Sadly, this data suggests they're not getting that support.

"This gap in GCSE attainment shows deaf children need more support, not less - so the focus now should be on improving outcomes."

As a result, the charity suggests audiologists could play a key role in helping to provide or advise on support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Written by James Puckle

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