Did you know that 60% of deaf young people go to a further education college, compared to just one third of other young people? Despite this, new research by the University of Manchester and commissioned by the National Deaf Children’s Society raises serious questions about the support that deaf young people get at college.
Some of the key findings from the research include:
- A quarter of deaf young people do not achieve a qualification at any level whilst in college. Their drop-out rates are twice that of the general population.
- Deaf young people are not being supported to make informed choices about which college is right for them. Local authorities seem to be steering deaf young people to cheaper options that may not best meet their needs.
- The amount and quality of support that deaf young people receive in college seems to vary considerably. In particular, the availability of communication support is mixed.
- There is no national process for tracking deaf young people’s progress in further education.
One thing I found especially depressing about the report is that the researchers clearly found many deaf young people who are ambitious and keen to do well. But they are not being supported to develop their knowledge, experience and information to make good decisions about their future options.
The research is not all negative. The researchers found examples of effective practice where deaf young people were being well-supported. It also made recommendations for things that can be done to help deaf young people before they move to college. Come back soon for my next blog to find out more about this.