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More specialist support needed for deaf school children, report highlights

Friday 26th January 2018
Upcoming retirements on top of existing specialist staff shortages are set to result in a lack of support for deaf school children, a new report has warned. Image: Rawpixel via iStock
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Significantly more support is needed for hard of hearing and deaf children attending schools in Britain, a recent report has highlighted.

According to data from the Consortium for Research in Deaf Education, around 60 per cent of current staff who specialise in providing support to children with additional hearing needs are set to retire from their roles within the next 15 years.

What's more, staffing levels in this area have decreased by 14 per cent over the last seven years, despite the number of children requiring specialist support rising by almost one-third (31 per cent).

This therefore indicates that unless more support is found for these pupils, they could end up falling behind their hearing peers, or requiring extra support in later life to enable them to cope in situations where they need to communicate effectively with others.

Having no one to help them exercise tactics described to them by their audiologist or who understands their additional needs could prove damaging not only to their educational success but also their hearing function over the long term.

In some parts of the UK, the specialist staffing shortfall is so great that there is only one teacher with training in supporting deaf or hard of hearing students for every 100 pupils. As a result, there isn't enough of a chance for all children to access the educational support they require.

Susan Daniels, chief executive officer of the National Deaf Children's Society, stated: "The evidence couldn't be clearer. From every angle and at every turn, a whole generation of deaf children will have their futures decimated if the government doesn't act before it's too late."

The government has said that it is investing an additional £223 million in supporting children with specialist needs, but campaigners want to see more concrete action and the appointment of specially-trained individuals into roles designed to protect and support students with hearing issues to ensure they can achieve their full potential.

Written by James Puckle

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