Scottish deaf children face crisis due to teacher shortage

Deaf children in Scotland face a growing education crisis, according to a new report which says nearly a third of specialist teachers have been cut in the past eight years.

A deaf bus roadshow

The research by the Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) and the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) puts the cuts at 29 per cent since 2011. It also states 30 per cent of the remaining teachers do not have the qualifications to support the pupils or their families.

There are 3,300 deaf children in Scotland with only 154 full-time equivalent specialist teachers, down from 218 in 2011.

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And with nearly half (46 per cent) of those specialists due to retire in the next ten to 15 years the charity is now warning of a recruitment crisis on the horizon.

Alasdair O’Hara, who leads NDCS campaigning work in Scotland, said: “This is utterly shameful, and we need to see an urgent investment in frontline staff from the Scottish Government and from councils to solve this crisis and deliver for an entire generation of deaf children.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Education authorities [have a duty to] identify, provide for and review additional support needs of pupils, including those affected by hearing impairment.”