Professor Ruth Swanwick

School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

Improving education and social outcomes for deaf children of Roma families in the UK

Responsive Mode Impact Fund


This project builds on the established  PI work with multilingual deaf children and their families and  a developed Language Planning tool  to address  the educational and social needs of deaf children of Roma families.

There are approximately 50,000 deaf children (0-19) in the UK with diverse types and levels of deafness, sign/spoken language experience, and hearing technologies. The most at risk in terms of academic and social development are newly arrived and migrant deaf children and most notably those from Roma populations. This vulnerable group are currently growing in number in particular local authorities and deaf education practitioners are seeking to develop support and intervention strategies.

There are no national data on the demographics of this group and little research beyond the medical consensus that recessive disorders among Roma populations lead to prelingual hearing loss. This high prevalence of deafness in Roma communities has significant implications for education, health and social participation.

The project will bring together academics, educational, charity and community partners to identify the learning, development and social needs of deaf children of Roma families, plan appropriate  multi-professional intervention and support  and establish a national stakeholder group to ensure the reach,  development and sustainability of the outcomes.