NDCS warn system to support deaf children in school ‘in absolute crisis’

Almost half of specialist teachers for deaf children feel pupils are performing worse than five years ago, a charity suggests.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) says the system is in absolute crisis, and specialist teachers are being “crushed” by the demands of their role.

It warns they are battling stress, and having to deal with spiralling workloads and excessive hours.

The warning comes after a survey of 625 specialist teachers, carried out by the charity and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, revealed almost half (46%) experience stress in their role on a weekly basis, with a quarter affected every day.

According to the poll, more than four in five (87%) are now working longer hours due to increasing workloads, with 63% forced to work an extra day every week just to keep up.

Around six in 10 teachers surveyed (58%) said there was less support available for deaf children than in 2014.

While almost half (43%) felt pupils were now performing worse.

Susan Daniels, chief executive of the NDCS, said: “The results of this survey show a system in absolute crisis. Specialist teachers do an incredible job in exceptionally difficult circumstances and play a vital role in the lives of deaf children.

“However, they are being crushed by the demands of a role which has become simply unsustainable.

“Every child deserves the same chance in life, but unless specialist support services are adequately staffed and funded, teachers will remain overworked and under pressure while deaf children’s futures hang in the balance.”

Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said: “Our ambition for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those who are deaf, is the same for any other child – to achieve well in education, and go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

“It is up to local authorities to work with the schools in their area to identify the nature of specialist support services they commission, according to the needs of schools in their area.

“By far the most important factor in education and care is the people who deliver it. That is why we have launched the first-ever integrated recruitment and retention strategy that also set out our plans to improve professional development, career progression and flexible working opportunities for teachers.”

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