The educational outcomes of deaf children in England

Think tank: Education Policy Institute

Author(s): Jo Hutchinson

March 9, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute looks at the attainment gap for deaf children in England and how to address it.

EPI’s report into the attainment of deaf children in England reveals considerable attainment gaps facing deaf children during their time in education. To counter this, the report recommends enhanced funding and support for deaf pupils, as well as those with other special needs, alongside a broader strategy to tackle child poverty. The report, produced in partnership with the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), found deaf children were on average almost a year and a half (17.5 months) of learning behind their classmates, who did not have any special needs, by their GCSEs in 2019. This lost learning typically results in deaf pupils losing out on more than a whole grade in each of the vital GCSE subjects of maths and English, impacting future career paths and earnings. At GCSE, this deaf attainment gap can be likened to the disadvantage gap facing socio-economically disadvantaged pupils (those eligible for free school meals at some point within the last 6 years). In 2019, socio-economically disadvantaged GCSE pupils faced an average attainment gap equivalent to 18.1 months of learning, only slightly larger than the 17.5 months experienced by deaf pupils. Concerningly, on average, these pupil groups attained lower grades than almost two thirds of all pupils in 2019.