The Hearing Support Team (HST) is a specialist teaching service supporting children and young people with a hearing loss, from birth to 25 years. We support children and young people in mainstream schools, special schools, early years settings, schools, colleges and homes.
The team comprises:-
Qualified teachers of the deaf
Specialist teaching assistants
Educational audiologist and audiological technicians
Sign language tutor
In order to raise achievement and promote inclusion in school and beyond, we provide:
Bespoke specialist teaching and in-class support
Audiological assessment, provision of equipment and technical support (e.g. radio aids)
Training for all staff including deaf awareness and bespoke courses
Customised, nationally accredited sign language courses
Advice on communication, language and literacy
Advice on differentiation
Advice on the acoustic/listening environment
Specialist assessments and advice for Education, Health and Care Plans
Advice on target setting, GCSEs, A Levels and vocational courses
Advice and guidance to parents and school staff
Liaison with health and other agencies
Support for transition
Opportunities for deaf pupils to meet pupils from other schools and to share experiences
The Hearing Support Team (HST) is only able to take referrals of children and young people who have a diagnosis of a hearing loss (under an audiology department) and who have been fitted with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Fully Qualified teachers with additional mandatory qualification in teaching deaf children and young people alongside specialist teaching assistants, technicians and educational audiologists support in a range of settings offering:
When a baby or pre-school child is diagnosed with a hearing loss, a teacher of deaf children and/or teaching assistant from the Hearing Support Team (HST) visits the family home and early years setting.
Bespoke, specialist support is offered to each child and family.
HST provide weekly ‘stay and play’ sessions so that parents and their children can meet together. Staff advise on language, communication and listening development and model activities.
Please note that due to COVID-19, these sessions are on hold until a solution can be found to support pre-schoolers as safely as possible.
In the meanwhile, we have a new virtual online group ‘Communicate and Play’. You will need to register for this event. To find out when the next session is, please contact Lauren.Brennan@birmingham.gov.uk
The Hearing Support Team (HST) work City Wide to support the needs of children with an identified hearing loss who have been referred to the service (see referral section for pupils visited by HST). The team work collaboratively with SENCos, teachers and parents to minimise the impact of a child’s hearing loss on their access to learning, social and emotional development whilst developing independence.
Additionally, HST supports all maintained schools, academies and free schools around Phonics Screening Checks for pupils at KS1 who have a hearing loss.
There is also support for staff with access arrangements for pupils with a hearing loss, participating in the Key Stage 2 national curriculum tests.
Yearly, social events are organised separately, one each for KS1 and KS2. Pupils with a hearing loss, in your school, may be invited to attend. These run during school hours.
HST provides a range of specialist teaching and support services to primary aged pupils including:-
The Hearing Support Team (HST) work City Wide to support the needs of young people with an identified hearing loss who have been referred to the service (see referral section for pupils visited by HST). The team work collaboratively with SENCos, teachers and parents to minimise the impact of a student’s hearing loss on their access to learning, social and emotional development whilst encouraging greater independence.
Additionally, HST supports all maintained schools, academies and free schools around preparing young adults with a hearing loss for adulthood. There is also a greater emphasis on students understanding their hearing loss.
HST support staff with access arrangements for students with a hearing loss, participating in Key Stage 4 examinations.
Yearly, social events are organised for students (Year 9 – 11) which includes a visit to the University of Birmingham. Students with a hearing loss, in your school, may be invited to attend. These run during school hours.
HST provides a range of specialist teaching and support services to secondary aged pupils including:-
The Hearing Support Team (HST) are a team of specialist teachers and teaching assistants working City Wide to support the needs of students with an identified hearing loss in Post 16 settings.
Support for post 16 students is provided through HST Traded Services.
On entering a post 16 provision, an initial assessment of a student’s needs is carried out by a Qualified Teacher of the Deaf (QToD), following which a package of support for the student will be set up in liaison with the college.
Click here to find out more information on the assessment process and packages of support: FHE flyer
Birmingham Hearing Support Team (HST) is committed to supporting children and young people with hearing losses in special school settings. We offer bespoke training to staff and provide detailed management plans to ensure that all auditory needs are met.
Visits to school are based upon the child’s needs. We work closely with a link worker within the school so that any concerns raised are addressed promptly. We liaise with a range of professionals to meet the needs of complex children.
The Hearing Support Team (HST) works with children and young people as they move through each phase of education. We understand the challenges which a change in setting may bring and aim to facilitate a smooth, positive transition for the pupil, family and settings.
We support the family to make informed choices about appropriate educational provision for their child
We provide a range of information to professionals in the new educational setting, so that they are fully informed about the pupil’s individual needs and views.
We lead and attend transition meetings with the pupil, family, current staff and staff from the new setting as well as their new Sensory Support teacher where applicable, to ensure continuity and a successful individualised transition for the pupil.
We organise a range of Transition events so that pupils can meet other pupils with a Hearing Loss, discuss strategies for a smooth transition into the next phase of school life and help to make links for pupils who will attend a new setting together.
We collect pupil and parent views via questionnaires after transition to new settings and use this information to inform future transition events as well as evaluate the support which we offer.
Hearing Support Team (HST) HLTAs and TAs work in partnership with Teachers of the Deaf, SENCOs, Teachers and TAs in schools to provide additional specialised support for children and young people with a hearing loss.
Through liaison with our Teachers of the Deaf from HST and the staff at school, we would identify the pupil’s individual needs and create bespoke packages to support the specific needs of this pupil. The HST HLTA’s and TAs will model, empower and share good practise with staff in a setting.
Educational audiologist plays an instrumental role in ensuring the best outcomes for the children with hearing losses and their families by enhancing joint working between Education and Health departments.
As a qualified Teacher of the Deaf with additional specialist training and post graduate diploma, the Educational Audiologist works closely with Teachers of the Deaf, clinical audiologists, early years and school staff as well as families and the children themselves. The major focus is on assessment, monitoring and fostering of the development of auditory skills (listening) and ensuring that the children and young people gain the maximum benefit from their hearing technology. Educational audiologist also provides counselling to families and delivers bespoke training to Teachers of the Deaf and other professionals covering a wide range of topics.
The Hearing Support Team provides assistive listening devices to support children and young people to optimise their listening capabilities and reduce the impact of background noise in school, nursery and home settings. The assistive listening devices work alongside hearing aids or cochlear implant processors.
There are various different types of listening device. If you are unsure of the types used by your deaf learner, you can ask their Teacher of the Deaf. Guides for common combinations can be found below:
If there are any issues with radio aids for pupils in school, please contact the technician team via Sharon.B.Flaherty@birmingham.gov.uk
Auditory Oral Approaches
Hearing children learn language through listening, and their language develops naturally. However, there are barriers for deaf children learning language in this way.
Hearing technology such as hearing aids and cochlear implants are vital for deaf children to learn language by listening alone. The technology must work optimally, and the environment must be quiet. In addition, some children will benefit from other listening equipment such as radio aids.
Deaf children will also use lip-reading to some extent.
Teachers of the Deaf and Specialist HLTAs and TAs from the Hearing Support Team (HST) can model, provide resources and advise on supporting language development.
Signs and Symbols
When Auditory Oral approaches are not appropriate, or they need to be supported through the visual channel, there are a number of options which vary depending on the needs of the individual.
Total Communication (TC): uses a range of approaches to create a system of communication that works for an individual.
British Sign Language (BSL)
Makaton – when the young person has a learning difficulty.
The Hearing Support Team can support with 1 and 2, but not 3. HST have a qualified Sign Language Tutor who can offer introductory courses in different settings.
The Hearing Support Team (HST) offer a unique service to promote the wellbeing, engagement and inclusion of pupils with hearing loss.
Pupils are motivated with high expectations
Pupils are independent and confident
The whole school is aware of hearing needs
Social isolation is reduced
HST aim to develop the confidence of all pupils with hearing losses to give them aspirations and achievements commensurate with their ability. HST offer the following:
Social activities to help pupils understand and manage their own needs. Opportunities for age appropriate activities for pupils to meet socially with other children with hearing losses across the city and West Midlands
Social interaction groups organised to promote inclusion and understanding of communication with peers.
Teenage reference groups enable pupils with hearing losses to have a voice.
Use of annual questionnaires with school age pupils to elicit the pupil voice on the support the pupil receives, explore the pupils understanding of his/her hearing loss and contribute to their own learning.
Develop and nurture pupils’ self-advocacy so as to be active participants in each transition phase.
Continuity of advice, support and expertise for pupils is assured as they move into different stages of education.
Referrals to other agencies for additional support for pupils with social and emotional difficulties.
Peer awareness for whole school, year group and class groups so that all pupils understand the impact of hearing loss on social interaction.
Teaching very basic British Sign Language (BSL) to groups of peers is offered.
HST organise sessions that can be held in the classroom or as an assembly to put across what it might be like to have a hearing loss and how pupils can help someone with a hearing loss in their class, year group or school. These sessions can be used for Key Stage. We have a peer awareness PowerPoint presentation which staff can present to pupils themselves or it can be delivered by HST.
The session and/or PowerPoint include:
Discussion around what it may be like to have a hearing loss
Advice for good communication with deaf people
Examples of the types of equipment which a deaf person may use
How to be more visual in communications including use of pictures, gestures, fingerspelling and BSL signs
Quizzes and questions about what pupils have learnt about their peers with hearing
Please contact the Teacher of the Deaf allocated to your setting if you would like more information.
quotes from Year 5 Children at Raddlebarn Primary School
“The thing I enjoyed the best was learning about how other people hear and I enjoyed the session because I am deaf in one ear and its good to learn about how other people manage.”
“ I liked the fact you show us how the gadgets work”
“I liked it because we got to learn sign language”
“ I liked learning about what it would be like to be deaf”
Social interaction groups are run by specialist Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) and specialist Teaching Assistants (TAs) from the Hearing Support Team (HST). The team will provide opportunities for building self-esteem and confidence. HST will tailor resources through a six week package. This will support them to:
Develop their language
Enable them to express their emotions
Identify their own needs in an environment where they feel safe and secure.
Support understanding socialising and communication between them and their hearing friends.
These sessions will give them time to discuss their achievements and any difficulties or concerns they may have and promote a feeling of well-being.
Please contact the Teacher of the Deaf allocated to your setting if you feel that these sessions would benefit any pupil with a diagnosed hearing loss (see referral section for pupils who meet the criteria).
Please note that these groups are on hold due to COVID-19 but will be resumed in line with government guidance.
The Hearing Support Team (HST) define ‘Pupil Voice’ as the views, feelings and opinions of the child or young person
Why does the Hearing Support Team elicit pupil voice?
Every child is different. Teachers of the Deaf need to get to know every child, so that the support HST provide is appropriate to each individual’s needs.
How does the Hearing Support Team elicit pupil voice?
What I Think’ forms (up to KS2) ‘My Views’ (KS3-5)
What’s working/what’s not working
Questionnaires – Social and Emotional
Use Education Health Care Assessment Request (EHCAR) or EHC review form to record pupils views
Through 1:1 specialist teaching sessions
HST are passionate about gathering the views of young people with hearing losses. The following video was created by Birmingham children on caseload about what they would like settings to consider when thinking about supporting their needs.
Learning from career and labour market information
Addressing the needs of each pupil
Linking curriculum learning to careers
Encounters with employers and employees
Experiences of workplaces
Encounters with further and higher education
For students in mainstream settings, your specialist visiting teacher will help advise you on careers options, but please refer to the Birmingham Careers Service to explore your Post 16 options, including links to local Further Education colleges.
For students that have an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) please see our Local Offer website for more information on what you need to do.
For students who need wider support including the transition from children’s to adult services and long term support, please click on this link for more information on our team who can help with this.
Please use the following training video, ‘Unlocking Our Deaf World’ (inspired by Birmingham students), for all teaching and non-teaching staff working with children and young people with hearing losses:
Please direct parents to the Local Offer website with the use of the following video:
To ensure the child or young person with a hearing loss receives the best support possible, Sensory Support staff work in partnership with Health and Social Care services plus a wide range of other agencies. The Qualified Teacher of the Deaf is often in the key working role; co-coordinating support and ensuring this support is child and family centred. This sharing of information with all relevant agencies improves safeguarding and leads to more efficient working and better outcomes for d/Deaf children and young people.
Sensory Support work in partnership with:
Schools and Settings (Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Managers etc.)
We are often asked at the Hearing Support Team – how do we know we have had an impact? Here we have included the feedback we have received from some of our courses.
“A friendly, welcoming team who are clearly passionate about what they do. Thank you one and all.” Delegate attending ‘Teachers Working with Children with Hearing Losses’
“So informative and helpful – increasing my awareness of my child’s needs. Thank you!” Delegate attending ‘Teachers Working with Children with Hearing Losses’
“Fantastic course. Every TOD brought a different element to the course; humour, knowledge, ideas etc. Certainly gave me a refresher and an understanding on what I need to review.” Delegate attending ‘Teachers Working with Children with Hearing Losses’
“Very useful day to support my classroom practice.” Delegate attending ‘Teachers Working with Children with Hearing Losses’
SENSORY SUPPORT AND PHYSICAL DIFFICULTIES SUPPORT SERVICE
FEEDBACK FROM SCHOOL AND SETTINGS MAY 2021
93.3% of SENDCos stated that the support they had received from Sensory Support/PDSS had enabled them as a SENDCo to do their job and to meet their statutory duties to include the pupils in all aspects of school life
97.8% of schools and settings stated that the quality of the Service received from SS/PDSS was of ‘excellent high quality’ and the remaining 2.2% stated that it was ‘good’.
“I feel the Hearing Team provides the link for school between health and education. They provide reports from health and liaise if the pupil has a problem with their hearing aid.”
100% of parents said that they felt that their voice was heard.
100% of pre-school parents stated that the support that they had received had made a difference.
“Yes, you understand what my son needs to access his lessons. My sons Teacher of the deaf has shared this with the teachers at school and explained to the school staff what he needs.”
“You helped in so many ways, I felt like I could ask them anything. I was never made to feel uncomfortable, always reassuring me.”
“Without your support it would have been really hard. Managed to get ear-moulds, phone-calls were reassuring – our teacher of the deaf is always a phone call away – working between school and family, having TOD as consistent makes a real difference- already knows about support required”
“All the support was very good and helpful. Communicate & Play group is great too!”
“Seeing other kids who are deaf made a difference as it was all new to us, good that they could engage with other kids. It helped to know we are not the only ones going through this.”