Deaf children

Last year the National Deaf Children’s Society published the Close the Gap report highlighting the significant attainment gap which exists for deaf children and young people in Scotland. With the right support, deaf children and young people can achieve anything they want to. Too many deaf children are not reaching their full potential and falling behind their peers at school. A year on, we welcome the Scottish Parliament’s current inquiry into the attainment of pupils with a sensory impairment.

Scottish Government data shows that 10 per cent of deaf young people leave school with no qualifications. Over the past three years the average tariff score for deaf learners has improved, but there is still a wide gap between a deaf learner and hearing pupils.

With around 80 per cent of deaf children in Scotland being educated in mainstream schools, there are concerns about current structures of support for deaf pupils. It’s unknown how many deaf children there are in Scotland. Lack of complete data means planning is often a significant challenge.

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Solutions do exist: there is a need to strengthen local early intervention practices and to tackle the challenges facing specialist education workforce which is often under-qualified and resourced.

We welcome the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government’s commitment to exploring these solutions and recommend that the challenges facing this small, diverse and often overlooked group of learners need to be fully understood before being meaningfully addressed.

The findings will help ensure every young person in Scotland is supported to achieve their full potential.

Heather Gray


National Deaf Children’s Society