Deaf Support Facility
The Deaf Support Facility (DSF) is a centrally funded provision, managed by the Sensory Needs Service for East Sussex County Council. DSF staff work in collaboration with mainstream Priory teachers and senior leaders to ensure deaf students attending the school have an equally rewarding learning and social experience as their hearing peers. All of our deaf students have an Education and Healthcare Plan (EHCP).
The DSF consists of a Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) and currently three full time specialist teaching assistants (TAs), who support the deaf students alongside professionals from Speech & Language Therapy (SALT), audiology, implant centres and other agencies across Children’s Services and the NHS. The DSF team oversee the students’ appropriate use of audiological equipment and are trained to check hearing aids, cochlear implant processors and digi-systems, whilst encouraging increasing degrees of self-management in this area.
DSF students receive dedicated in class support, withdrawn one to one language development sessions and pre and post-teaching in specific subject areas. Our team also ensure deaf students receive appropriate social and emotional support, contribute as active members of the school community and transition successfully to further education, training or employment.
Language and communication are paramount in the development of deaf children and young people. The DSF at Priory has no set communication policy and we support the individual learner’s communication needs as appropriate, offering a child-centred approach. Speech is prevalent as the majority of students coming to us have good expressive spoken language. We can support and reinforce this through signed supported English (SSE) and British Sign Language (BSL).
Deaf Friendly Teaching & Learning
All teaching and support staff are invited to regular Continued Professional Development (CPD) training to ensure our learners are fully included in all aspects of school life. Staff are trained in the use of Digi-systems (radio aids) to maximise learners listening experience in class and assemblies. Inclusion is the key and the DSF team work closely with teaching and non-teaching staff on all matters relating to the progress and development of Priory’s deaf students, thus securing the best possible outcomes for them.
Year 6 deaf students take part in a comprehensive transition process involving social and educational activities throughout the summer term. DSF staff and prospective students carry out reciprocal visits leading up to starting at Priory in Year 7.
The ToD provides opportunities for DSF students to meet other deaf students across Sussex, Brighton and Hove, to develop their social skills and to mix with an increasing number of deaf peers.