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Deaf young people not achieving same FE qualifications as hearing peers

Data published by the Department for Education yesterday (Thursday 30 March) shows deaf young people in England are still failing to achieve the same qualifications as their hearing peers.

In 2016, 44% of deaf young people had achieved two A-Levels or equivalent technical qualifications by age 19 – a slight improvement on 43% in 2015.

While the attainment gap has narrowed, this still means that well over half of deaf young people are failing to achieve A-level standard qualifications, compared to just 35% of those with no identified special educational need (SEN).

The National Deaf Children’s Society is calling on the Department for Education to take action to close this gap sooner, and has expressed disappointment that the SEN reforms of 2014 have not proven more effective in doing so.

Martin McLean, the charity’s Education and Training Policy Advisor, said: “Deafness is not a learning disability; there is no reason why deaf young people cannot achieve the same things as their hearing friends, given the right support.

“We had high expectations that the SEN reforms would help deaf young people to achieve higher qualifications, but sadly these new figures suggest they are not yet having the desired impact.

“The Government needs to do more to ensure that colleges, schools and apprenticeship providers can put specialist support in place to help deaf students to make up ground lost earlier in education.”

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