Hearing Support Facility
The Hearing Support Facility (HSF) is a centrally funded provision, managed by the Sensory Needs Service for East Sussex County Council. HSF staff work in collaboration with mainstream Priory teachers and senior leaders to ensure hearing impaired students attending the school have an equally rewarding learning and social experience as their hearing peers.
The HSF consists of a Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) and currently four 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 HSF 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.
HSF students receive dedicated in class support, withdrawn one to one language development sessions and pre and post-teaching in specific subject areas.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 hearing impaired 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 hearing impaired children and young people. The HSF 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 HSF team work closely with teaching and non-teaching staff on all matters relating to the progress and development of Priory’s hearing impaired students, thus securing the best possible outcomes for them.
Year 6 hearing impaired students take part in a comprehensive transition process involving social and educational activities throughout the summer term. HSF staff and prospective students carry out reciprocal visits leading up to starting at Priory in Year 7.
The ToD provides opportunities for HSF students to meet other hearing impaired students across Sussex, to develop their social skills and to mix with an increasing number of deaf peers.