Government cuts blamed as deaf pupils see GCSE results fall

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Cuts to council services have led to the GCSE achievement of deaf children falling for the first time since records began, a charity says.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) this week said the government had “failed” deaf children by not preventing councils from making the cuts.

Annual GCSE statistics for England show that 37.3 per cent of deaf children achieved the government’s benchmark of five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths (ACEM) last year – compared to 39.7 per cent in 2010/11.

Campaigners have laid the blame on the government’s austerity measures which they say have led to local authorities cutting vital support services for deaf and hearing impaired children.

The recent NDCS “Stolen Futures” investigation uncovered that one in three councils are taking away support for deaf children including teachers of the deaf and speech and language therapists.

In 2007/08, the earliest year for which figures are held, 28.3 per cent of deaf children reached the ACEM benchmark. This leapt to 36 per cent in 2009/10 and then to 39.7 per cent before falling back 2.4 per cent to 37.3 per cent after last summer’s results.

Notably, the fall comes as the ACEM attainment rate for all children with SEN rose 0.3 per cent from 22.1 per cent in 2010/11 to 22.4 per cent last year.

Jo Campion, deputy director of policy and campaigns at the NDCS, said: “These figures confirm our worst fears; that the government is failing deaf children by refusing to take action to stop irresponsible local council cuts.

“The attainment gap is widening due to councils and the government constantly devaluing deaf children and taking away the support they need, putting the futures of thousands in jeopardy.”

Ms Campion said that the rise this year in achievement among all SEN children confirms a “specific neglect of deaf children”.

There are around 35,000 deaf children in England and the NDCS has launched a Stolen Futures e-petition in a bid to force a Parliamentary debate on the issue.

Ms Campion added: “Deafness is not a learning disability and there is no reason why most deaf children should not be doing as well as other children. We now need the government to take responsibility for the children they are setting up to fail, and stop cuts being made before the attainment gap becomes even wider.”

To sign the petition, visit www.ndcs.org.uk/petition

The GCSE results are in for 2011/12

The GCSE statistics, published this week by the Department for Education, show that 58.8 per cent of state school students achieved the benchmark of five A* to C GCSE grades including English and maths (ACEM).

This is up from 58.2 per cent in 2010/11 and, if figures from independent schools are included the 2011/12 ACEM pass rate rises to 59.4 per cent.

A total of 36.3 per cent of pupils on free school meals achieved the ACEM benchmark, up from 34.6 per cent in 2010/11.

For pupils with SEN, 22.4 per cent achieved the ACEM benchmark, up from 22.1 per cent.

Figures also show that 83 per cent of state school pupils achieved five A* to C GCSEs in any subject, up from 80.5 per cent in 2010/11.

When it comes to the English Baccalaureate measure, 18.3 per cent of all key stage 4 pupils achieved the benchmark, up from 17.6 per cent. For state schools only, 16.2 per cent achieved the EBacc up from 15.4 per cent last year. 

A total of 23.1 per cent of state school students were entered into subjects that would qualify them for the EBacc, up from 21.6 last year.


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