4th February 2019

New Resources published to support deaf learners who use English as an Additional Language

Thousands of deaf learners who use English as an Additional Language are set to benefit from two new resources aimed at improving learning and overcoming exclusion.

The number of children using English as an Additional Language has more than doubled in the last decade to over 1.5 million, of which around 6,500¹ are deaf.  In 2017, just one in five deaf EAL learners achieved a GCSE grade 5 or above in both English and Maths, compared to 29% of deaf children generally and 47% of all English as an Additional Language users.  Without the right support, they can face a number of challenges which affect their development, confidence, educational attainment and happiness.

The National Deaf Children’s Society has published new resources, with co-funding from The Bell Foundation, to help teachers and education professionals address the challenges these children can face.

The resources are available in two formats, a booklet and a video.  The booklet includes practical advice, classroom strategies and case studies of deaf learners and their families. The resources also provide advice on effective support to the wider family.  The information is also summarised in an accompanying three-minute video, which offers three tips to help improve learning.

Suggested classroom strategies include using assessments effectively, working in small groups, pre-teaching to explain vocabulary and key concepts before the full lesson begins. All of the advice comes from Teachers of the Deaf, specially-trained teachers with a qualification in working with deaf children and from The Bell Foundation who co-funded the work and contributed their expertise in working with EAL learners.

The resources are aimed at boosting inclusion and achievement among all deaf child using English as an Additional Language.

The National Deaf Children’s Society’s Emma Fraser, who worked as a Teacher of the Deaf for ten years, said:

“Learning English at the same time as being taught in a classroom can be difficult enough, but being deaf can make it even more challenging. It can also have a significant impact on a child’s learning, development and communication skills, which in turn affects their confidence and can lead to isolation.

“These resources aim to provide teachers with the tools they need to ensure every deaf child can learn at the same pace as their hearing classmates and we’re urging all schools to get involved.

“With the right help, deaf children can achieve anything in life and it’s vital that they have every chance to reach that potential.”

Sue Brownson, Deputy Head of Laycock Primary School, London, where the video was filmed, said:

“Resources like these are really important because the communication and learning skills that children develop in their early years will last them for the rest of their lives.

“If they don’t get the right support, deaf children can find learning more difficult and it can be even harder when English isn’t their first language.

“I see first-hand the amazing things that deaf children can achieve every day and we need to make sure they all have the chance to shine.”

Diana Sutton, Director, The Bell Foundation said:

“We are pleased to be able to work with the National Deaf Children’s Society to help produce these essential new resources designed to support teachers working with deaf learners with EAL.  These resources will make a welcome addition to our existing tools, advice and support strategies for all EAL learners.”

Schools can access both resources free of charge via the following links:

Notes to editors

¹ Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) 2017 report

  • These resources have been produced by the National Deaf Children’s Society following co-funding from The Bell Foundation.
  • There are more than 50,000 deaf children in the UK. Around 13% are using English as an Additional Language.
  • Anonymous case studies are available. For more information, or for any other queries, please contact the National Deaf Children’s Society media team on 020 7014 1146/1149, rob.white@ndcs.org.uk or 07595 780 411 (outside of office hours).

The National Deaf Children’s Society

  • The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and their families.
  • The National Deaf Children’s Society helps deaf children and young people thrive by providing impartial, practical and emotional support to them and their families, and by challenging governments and society to meet their needs.
  • For more information visit www.ndcs.org.uk.  For further support, parents can contact the National Deaf Children’s Society Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text), email helpline@ndcs.org.uk, or chat online at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat

The Bell Foundation

  • The Bell Foundation is a charity which aims to overcome exclusion through language education by working with partners on innovation, research, training and practical interventions. Through generating and applying evidence, the Foundation aims to improve practice, policy and systems for children, young people, adults and communities with English as an Additional Language in the UK.