“A school which goes above and beyond to make sure
parents and child get the help and support they need.”
Deborah Owusu, parent of HIC at Emmbrook Infant School
We are a specialized resource that supports children from Emmbrook Infant School (Foundation Stage and Key Stage One) and Emmbrook Junior School (Key Stage Two). The provision is an integral part of the two schools and a culture of true deaf awareness has been embedded amongst staff and adults.
All children supported by the resource have an Education, Health and Care Plan and are supported by a Teacher of the Hearing Impaired, a specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Learning Support Assistants.
Support packages for the children follow a ‘needs led’ model so that the level of support is tailored to the individual needs of the child. Full advantage is taken of the wide range of opportunities at the schools to develop confidence and self-esteem alongside hearing peers as well as a sense of the child’s own deaf identity.
Hearing impaired children in the HIR have hearing aids or cochlear implants to support their use of residual hearing and radio aids are used to help their listening in class.
Children are encouraged from an early age to become independent in the use of their equipment; to remove, clean and fit their hearing aids/ cochlear implants and to report difficulties. They are expected to take ownership of their radio aid systems and to give and collect the transmitter from teaching staff. Key workers perform daily listening checks on hearing aids and cochlear implants to monitor the sound quality and to enable them to recognise any changes or interference that may occur.
The schools have been adapted to provide acoustically favourable classrooms, including infrared Sound field systems in all classes in the Infant and Junior schools.
Central to the school’s ethos is the promotion of a positive personal identity for each child within a supportive environment. The needs of the ‘whole child’ are implicit in our support of the pupils. The schools set high personalised expectations in all aspects of development; including academic, social and emotional areas and progress is measured regularly and meticulously.
What our hearing impaired pupils say about us:
“I like Emmbrook School because we do things fairly; we follow the Golden Rules and we never give up. I like being deaf because I have some deaf friends and even I have some friends that are not deaf. I feel special being a deaf person in the school.”
Ananya, Year 3
“I like Emmbrook Juniors because I like to play with Freddie. I like work. I like writing.”
Rhys, Year 3
We adopt a child-centred approach to communication. This means that we respond directly to the need of the individual and all forms of communication are viewed as equally valid and valued.
We communicate with children in their preferred mode of communication. Some children prefer spoken English, some need Sign Supported English and some need British Sign Language. We also use pictures and symbols for children where appropriate.
We recognize the importance of joined up working between home and school to develop our pupil’s communication skills. As a result, parents and carers are encouraged to attend weekly signing classes in school. They are also encouraged to observe Speech and Language Therapy sessions in school so that they can reinforce their child’s targets at home.
Many children have complex additional needs and the schools work in close partnership with external agencies to support the development and progress of each child.
What other professionals say about us:
“We work closely with the team at Emmbrook School. They have a great understanding of what is required to help children with hearing impairment. Their communication and link work with multidisciplinary teams such as ourselves in Audiology is excellent. There is a clear focus on supporting children and their families to obtain the most from their hearing, which encourages great outcomes as a result.”
Alan Bryant, Principle Clinical Scientist – Royal Berkshire Hospital
“Thank you for continuing to provide such excellent feedback. It is so helpful knowing you are monitoring the child’s equipment and progress so thoroughly. I really appreciate your informed observations, prompt questions and sharing of information. A real partnership that ensures the individual child is getting the maximum benefit from their Cochlear Implants and assistive listening devices, in order to develop good listening and language.”
Mary Hamilton, Rehabilitationist – Implant Centre Teacher of the Deaf, University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service
School Improvement Officer Jim Mathieson says of the Resource:
“Pupils in the Hearing Impaired Unit receive a rich learning experience. Staff members work very hard to promote both academic and social learning together in an animated language-rich environment with subject matter to which pupils readily respond.”
The pupils are supported by a Teacher of the Hearing Impaired, a specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Learning Support Assistants. Specialist staff work closely with mainstream staff to ensure supported inclusion and access to the mainstream curriculum appropriate to pupils’ needs. Support Assistants offering in-class support are all trained in Hearing Impairment and the checking of the child’s audiological equipment daily. Mainstream teachers are also trained in Deaf Awareness. Working closely with the Speech and Language Therapist and paying due regard to the advice, aims and objectives contained in the child’s EHC Plan, an Individual Support Plan (ISP) is written for each child at the beginning of every term. These plans are circulated to all staff working with the children.
Parents and Carers
Strong links between home and school are forged and the schools –this relationship is of utmost importance to us. We offer an ‘open door’ policy of family support in which regular contact is encouraged and parents are invited to discuss any issues of concern, without the need to wait for more formal meetings such as Annual Reviews or Parent Consultation evenings. Daily links are fostered through the use of a Home School book, in which information is shared and parents can raise issues of a day-to-day nature or seek guidance or advice.
What do the parents of our hearing impaired pupils say about us:
“Since Rhys has attended Emmbrook his progress has been immense, he is an established member of the community. The resource provides invaluable support allowing Rhys to have a tailored programme that supports his needs. The integrated approach with SLT, ToD, 1-1 support, class teacher and other key members of staff is carefully managed and plans are built to manage the needs of the child but also allow opportunity for progression. The communication to us as parents has been superb… We are thrilled with the experience we have had and most of all to see Rhys so happy is the best outcome.”
Faye and Richard Gilbert
“Our daughter started at EIS in year 2. She loved it instantly and took no time in settling in – it felt as if she belonged here. All the teachers and support staff are great and very supportive. The children are very well behaved and we have never had to deal with issues regarding bullying or bad behaviour. She loves her school and has never been happier. Our daughter has made tremendous progress – academically, socially and emotionally. She has become a more confident deaf person all thanks to her teachers and Mrs Hardwicke(Teacher of the Deaf – H.I. unit) who is an asset for both the schools. We can definitely say that moving her to this school has been the best decision.”
“Since my son started at Emmbrook Infant School, he has come on in leaps and bounds academically and verbally with all the help of the teachers and staff involved. The whole team has been supportive in helping me and Harvey with hearing aid wear, reading and signing. I have had advice during home visits, including learning new signs. There is now a sign club for parents which is extremely helpful, led by Mrs Hardwicke. She has been very supportive, helping with advice and support in and out of school and is always at the end of the phone. The HI TAs have also helped Harvey a lot with his confidence in his talking and signing…A school which goes above and beyond to make sure parents and child get the help and support they need.”
And finally, welcome to the team.
Karen Hardwicke: Teacher of the Deaf
Anna McDonald: Teacher
Wendy Gracie: Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Teresa Wingfield: HI Learning Support Assistant
Jo Godwin: HI Learning Support Assistant
Rania Sammour: HI Learning Support Assistant
Anubha Gupta: Lunchtime support assistant for HI pupil