The Hearing Support Centres (HSCs) provide specialist support for pupils whose primary need is deafness. All pupils within the HSCs have an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and many have additional needs besides their hearing loss.
The HSCs are managed and resourced through the Wandsworth Sensory Support Service. Most pupils in the HSCs live in Wandsworth, however some reside in neighbouring boroughs. The HSCs follow an auditory-oral communication approach.
A Teacher in Charge (TiC) leads a team of Qualified Teachers of the Deaf and hearing support teaching assistants. Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) is provided to pupils to support the development of their language, communication and social skills.
HSCs’ facilities and resources are outstanding. There is a high emphasis on the use of technology to develop skills and support learning, communication and independence:
• Each room is acoustically treated to the highest specification
• Information technology is state of the art and includes touch screen computers, iPads, video cameras, netbooks and interactive touchscreen boards in teaching rooms
• Audiological equipment is also the most up to date with personal Radio Aid systems available for all and maintained to an optimum level.
Wandsworth Hearing Support Service provide habilitation for children on the St George’s Auditory Implant Programme, giving teachers in the HSCs access to a high level of training, expertise and resources with regard to students with cochlear implants.
HSC staff regularly deliver training on a range of topics such as general deaf awareness and use of specialist technology. HSC staff also create resources and modify material to make them ‘deaf friendly’. All staff within the HSCs have a vital role in ensuring that deaf pupils are fully included. Staff are important role models for hearing pupils on how to communicate with and include deaf students, both in lessons and in the wider life of the school.
Pupils and their families supported by the HSCs can access specialist masterclasses in areas of the curriculum such as Maths and participate in a vibrant after-school programme alongside other deaf pupils in the borough, organised and delivered by teachers of the deaf. Families have access to a Parent Education Programme and information services through the HSC and its link to the Sensory Support Service.