The work goes on

19th August 2005 at 01:00
The TES Scotland is to be congratulated for drawing attention to research on deaf pupil attainment and experience. Although the incidence of early-onset deafness is low among the population, the educational issues that arise are known to be complex.

However, I was concerned to read the article "Inclusion still fails the deaf" (July 29).

While Audrey Cameron and I were very pleased to have our contribution to the recent Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress (ISEC) highlighted, the presenting tone and some of the content of the article was not a true representation of our paper.

The article implies that the "achievements of deaf pupils in Scotland" project (which was established in 2000, not 1998) reports significant feelings of isolation and frustration among deaf pupils in Scotland. This is not the case, although in our paper we do make reference to such experiences being reported in various studies across the UK.

In our paper, we argue that, while there is real cause for concern about deaf pupils' attainment and mainstream experiences, some developments are encouraging. Significantly, we conclude from our assessment that measuring the effect of inclusion policies on the educational outcomes and experiences of deaf pupils requires a longer term commitment to research.

We therefore stress that there is a pressing need to continue to track the effects of new developments through a combination of longitudinal statistical study, observation of practice and exploration of pupil and ex-pupil views.

In order to be able to do such studies effectively, teachers and researchers need to work together in a spirit of professional collaboration. However, the way the article was presented was potentially detrimental to this ongoing interaction between research and practice: readers might conclude that research to date has focused on failure, when our aim is to improve outcomes by reporting on the cause and effect of interactions in educational performance over time.

Marian Grimes

Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh University

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