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Parliament: Deaf Literacy


Michael Gove (Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Children, Schools and Families; Surrey Heath, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

(1) what arrangements are in place to ensure that the teaching of literacy is accessible to deaf children, with particular regard to the use of phonics;

(2) what arrangements are in place to ensure deaf children who fail to attain level 3 at key stage 2 English are receiving catch-up support tailored to their needs;

Simon Hughes (Shadow Leader of the House of Commons; North Southwark & Bermondsey, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps he is planning to implement to reduce the gap in attainment between deaf children and their hearing peers; and if he will make a statement.

Kevin Brennan (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Children, Schools and Families; Cardiff West, Labour)

Our key priority is to personalise learning by focusing on each pupil's progression so that every child achieves their potential. Our renewed literacy strategy builds on Sir Jim Rose's independent review of the teaching of early reading by putting phonics at the heart of 'teaching reading in order to help to raise attainment levels amongst all pupils.

The review found that there was a wide range of expert support and guidance available to help schools match provision to need regarding the teaching of literacy.

Through the national strategies we will continue to encourage teachers to apply inclusive principles to address issues of accessibility, including the needs of children with severe sensory impairment such as deafness.

The primary national strategy and other partners provide a range of intervention programmes to help those children who struggle most in reading and writing. These include the Every Child a Reader and Every Child a Writer programmes. The former provides intensive one to one support in reading for five and six year olds, the latter is a new pilot currently under development but will include one-to-one intervention in years three and four in the areas of writing that children find hardest to master.

Extra help is available for those children who need it to prevent them from falling behind: we provide early literacy support (ELS—year 1), Y3 literacy support (Y3LS) and further literacy support (FLS—year 5). These three packages are designed to help those children who, without additional help would not reach level 4 at the end of year 6.

They Work For You

See also:
Parliament: Deaf Education, No Official Statistics

Comments (1)

I found the Department reply to this really frustrating!

Phonics is presented as a solution to addressing the gap in achievement between deaf children and their hearing peers. Phonics is about teaching children literacy by teaching them about the 'sounds' in words. So if a child's first language is BSL or if they are moderately to profoundly deaf, is phonics really going to help deaf children learn literacy? It might work for some deaf children with a mild loss - but to present it as a solution to raising deaf children's literacy seems perverse.

The answer does say that teachers need to think about the needs of children with sensory impairment - but I still don't understand why phonics is mentioned in this answer. I also wonder if teachers really understand how to tailor their teaching methods for deaf children. Is their guidance out there for them that explains this issue?

Again, a bit frustrating.

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