Deaf children in Scotland are being left behind in the education system, and one charity is committed to ensuring they receive the same opportunities as their peers.
The National Deaf Children’s Society found that deaf students aren’t receiving the support they need due to a teacher shortage, according to the BBC. The charity is calling for more scholarships and funding for special education teachers to close the achievement gap.
"Every child deserves the chance to shine at school, and deaf children are no exception,” Alasdair O'Hara, the head of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Scotland campaign, told the BBC.
The country’s education system is failing despite the government’s best intentions, O’Hara said. Scotland’s 3,300 deaf children have lost nearly a third of their teachers over the past eight years, according to the organisation.
The lack of resources available to deaf students is putting them at a disadvantage compared to their peers. Students with disabilities have lower attendance rates and are more likely to be out of school or leave school before completing primary education. They are suspended or expelled at more than double the rate of their non-special education peers.
Scotland’s deaf students are eight times more likely than their hearing classmates to leave school with no skills, according to the National Deaf Children’s Society. And only 29% of deaf students who graduate from high school attend university, compared to 45% of hearing students, making future employment a challenge.
The Scottish government wants all children and young people to reach their full learning potential, including those with sensory impairments, according to a spokesperson.
The government provides £500,000 (roughly $610,000) to organisations that support deaf children, and £150,000 (roughly $180,000) to bolster training for teachers who teach children with sensory impairments, but the National Deaf Children’s Society argues it’s not enough.
“The Scottish government must act quickly by investing in deaf education," O’Hara said.