The Resource Base for Hearing Impaired pupils is an integrated resource unit for deaf children staffed by Teachers of the Deaf and specialist support staff.
Ensuring that hearing impaired pupils are able to make the most of their residual hearing at school is an essential part of our work. We work to ensure that:
Currently we have children who wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. This equipment is checked daily by Resource Base staff to ensure it is always in good working order. We have strong links with audiology departments and implant centres, to ensure any faults are identified and resolved quickly, to minimise the impact on the child's learning. All children have access to an FM system. This improves the signal to noise ratio in the classroom, allowing better access to the teacher's voice.
The National Deaf Children’s Society’s (NDCS) Quality Standards (2015) identifies the purpose of a resource provision to ‘provide specialist support for school staff, deaf children on the school’s roll and their parents’ with the aim that deaf children ‘are happy at school, feel included and fully participate in the life of the school’ and crucially that they ‘make good educational progress and reduce or close any attainment gap that was existing between them and their peers on entry to school’ (NDCS. 2015. P.5).
In line with this and as an inclusive mainstream provision, it is our ultimate aim that deaf children are fully included within the main school and work within their class as much as possible and, as teachers of the deaf, we strive to close learning and attainment gaps to enable them to do so. For some, reintegration (for English and / or maths) may not happen until secondary school; others may reintegrate after a period of specialist teaching within the resource base. Then, there are those who, when they join the school, are already working at a level in line with their peers meaning the resource base supports them in other ways, such as through in-class support or through pre-teaching, for example, to enable continued access to mainstream learning.
“Provision and support for pupils attending the enhanced provision is excellent and the inclusion of these pupils into mainstream classes is excellent.” Ofsted report 2013
To enable us to fulfil our aims for deaf children at the school, we offer a variety of support designed to meet the individual needs of each child, including:
Experienced teachers of the deaf lead on their specialist subjects:
Each has responsibility for overseeing the curriculum in their subject. As the emphasis is on ‘reducing or closing the gap’ teaching and learning is designed to meet the individual child’s needs. Therefore, whilst we might broadly follow the curriculum that is being delivered within mainstream classes, this will be in a style (mostly visual and kinaesthetic) and at a pace appropriate to the needs of the learner(s) in the resource base.
In order for us to be true to our ethos and fulfil our aim, we recognise the importance of varied communication approaches and adopt a total communication, or child-centred communication approach using a combination of spoken and written English, British Sign Language (BSL), Sign Supported English (SSE) and Signed English (SE) as well as gesture, facial expression and movement, which ensures we meet the individual needs of each child.
Signing is important to us, and we expect all staff to be qualified to at least level 2 BSL. However, an ability to sign confidently, competently and with enthusiasm at a level understandable to our deaf BSL users outweighs the needs for formal qualifications and as such, we always ensure there is a signed element within the interview process to enable us to make that judgement before employing staff.