Unit for the Hearing Impaired
· The school has 18 place enhanced provision catering for statemented/Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) severe/profoundly deaf children from across the whole of North East Essex. There are currently 16 pupils on roll. There are hearing impaired (HI) pupils in every year group.
· The enhanced provision is staffed by 2 full time Teachers of the Deaf (ToD) - Head of UHI and 1 part timeToD, 2 x Higher Level Teaching Assistants, 1 part time Teaching Assistants, 5 full time Teaching Assistants and 1 Mid Day Assistant, all sign to a minimum of BSL 1, most to BSL2.
· A Total Communication approach is utilised with the children – working from where they are – at present 1 pupil uses British Sign Language (BSL) with Sign Supported English (SSE).
· Others use SSE, Total Communication – use of key word signs in English (TC) and gesture with speech, or Speech alone. Children are taught to read using various methods incorporating support materials such as Visual Phonics, Widgit symbols and Signed Graphics.
· HI pupils can have additional difficulties to their deafness, ranging from medical syndromes, physical abnormalities, and additional moderate to severe learning difficulties including cognitive difficulties and language processing disorders.
· Younger children tend to have an extreme language delay (Nursery children are often at the very earliest stages of language acquisition in both speech and sign, having no words – this is a common starting point).
· At present, 13 pupils are cochlear implanted, bilaterally. 3 wear conventional behind the ear hearing aids. From the Reception class up, pupils have personal listening devices supported by FM Genie radio systems, if they are capable of listening well with their own apparatus. Mainstream classes and the hall are equipped with soundfield systems.
· We work closely with other agencies – all hearing impaired pupils with a severe/profound loss have designated ‘Child in Need’ status from birth – because of their lifelong disability. We liaise regularly with the Essex Social Care Sensory Team, Audiology (local), Cochlear Implant centres (GOSH, Addenbrookes), Speech and Language Therapists (SALT), Sign Instructor (SI), DCSF (Deaf CAMHS) - also the school doctor, school nurse, educational psychologist etc.
· The primary function of the UHI is to enable pupils to access mainstream education – where possible. Class teachers plan and deliver curriculum based on the Foundation Stage or National Curriculum. ToDs liaise to moderate the curriculum to enable pupils’ access – through visual aids and functional language. If it is more appropriate, pupils are taught 1:1, in small groups or by Reverse Integration, alongside pre and post teaching and tutorials.
· Currently 1 group is taught in UHI daily in mornings for Literacy and Numeracy. Other pupils are integrated into mainstream classes with varying levels of ToD and TA support.
· All pupils have Annual Reviews, termly Individual Education Plans in line with the SEN Code of Practice. Targets are reviewed with input from parents, TAs, class teachers, SALT, SI and ToDs.
· The Governor responsible for the UHI is Mrs Janet Ortega who has responsibility for monitoring policy and practice in the UHI.