Explore our policy recommendations for breaking down language barriers
in schools, adult education, and the criminal justice system.
To identify good practice in supporting deaf children with English as an Additional Language and to produce practical resources and guidance for specialist and mainstream education professionals on how to provide quality support for deaf children with EAL to develop communication and language skills.
Effective language and communication skills lie at the heart of deaf children’s social, emotional and intellectual development. Deafness is not a learning disability and there is no reason why deaf children should not be performing as well as other children.
However, 58.9% of deaf children are failing to achieve the government’s expected benchmark of five GCSEs at grade A* - C, including English and Mathematics, compared to just 35.8% of other children with no identified special educational need (Department for Education data 2016). Research suggests that approximately 78% of deaf children attend mainstream schools where there is no specialist provision and in which they may be the only deaf child enrolled. Hearing aids, cochlear implants and other technologies do not replace normal hearing, and deaf children require additional specialist support. Even a mild hearing loss can have a major impact on deaf children’s outcomes.
According to the Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) (when the project was undertaken), there are over 5,500 children who are both deaf and speak English as an Additional Language (EAL). This amounts to around 12% of all deaf children. The actual figure is likely to be higher given we know that some local authorities are limited in the data they hold about deaf children.
Department for Education (DfE) 2015 data showed that deaf children who speak EAL are even less likely to achieve 5 good GCSEs:
It is critical that all deaf children, parents and mainstream teachers receive specialist support to overcome the challenges in developing communication and language skills.
The project also developed, produced, trialled and evaluated resources. As a result, specialist and mainstream education professionals will be better able to support the deaf children with EAL who come into their care in overcoming the challenges in developing their communication and language skills.