Deaf friendly schools guidance

Date published: 05 April 2022

A guide for principals, staff and governors in relation to promoting a deaf friendly environment within education settings


Deaf Friendly Education

Deafness is not a learning disability and, given the right support, deaf children can make the same progress as hearing children of similar cognitive ability.

The majority of deaf pupils are educated in mainstream schools, yet many deaf children do not achieve the same academic outcomes as their hearing peers. We know that:


  • deaf pupils can learn as much as their hearing peers when they are taught by teachers who recognise and can adapt teaching methods and materials to accommodate their strengths and needs


  • deaf pupils achieve more when both teachers and families have high expectations


  • deaf pupils may not receive the support they need especially if they have good speech

  • a setting’s acoustic environment (listening conditions) can have a huge impact on deaf children's ability to access information and learn

  • qualities such as assertiveness, confidence and resilience, promoted within the school setting, benefit deaf pupils

  • deaf pupils do better when their families are engaged and have the information they need to support their decision-making. Informed choice allows parents to be fully involved in their child’s education, both formally and informally

  • families value the opportunities their child has to attend school clubs and activities and be part of the school and local community.

Who is this resource for?

This resource is for anyone who works with deaf children in educational settings.

How to use this resource

This resource should be used alongside support and advice from the Education Authority’s Sensory Service.

This document was developed in partnership with National Deaf Children’s Society, EA Sensory Service and the Department of Education NI. It has been funded under the Fair Start Programme Key Area 4 – Promoting a Whole Community Approach to Education.


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