(2) what guidance his Department gives to local authorities on the placement of deaf and hearing-impaired children.
In July 1998, the then Department for Education and Employment commissioned a review of the literature on the educational achievements of deaf children and young people. While the report suggested that deaf and hearing impaired learners do lag behind their hearing peers in their achievements in mathematics and reading it also found that the presence of additional child difficulties, language used in the home and socio-economic status, appear to be more stable predictors of exam success than the degree of hearing loss. The report also found that in many studies, degree of hearing loss itself does not correlate with educational achievement. In those studies where there is a relationship between the two, the correlation may well be attributable to other, latent factors. However, the Government are committed to narrowing the attainment gap between deaf children and their peers. We are currently working with the National Deaf Children's Society and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People to improve the availability of data in order to establish an accurate picture of this attainment gap and take steps to reduce it.
Regarding guidance the Department gives to local authorities on the placement of deaf and hearing-impaired children, the SEN code of practice provides practical advice to all local authorities, maintained schools, early education settings and others on carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for children's special educational needs. All these parties are required to have regard to the code.