North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson was joined by the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, on a visit to Red Oaks Primary School to learn more about the school’s Hearing Support Team.
Justin and the Minister met with Red Oaks Headteacher and members of the Hearing Support Team, to discover the work they do to support children with hearing impairments. They also met a number of the pupils supported by the Hearing Support Team and received a tour of the school to see it first-hand.
The work of the Hearing Support Team at Red Oaks was highlighted by Maisie Sly, one of its pupils who starred in an Oscar winning film about a young girl whose hearing impairment had left her isolated. Justin spoke of the fantastic work Red Oaks does during Prime Ministers Questions, and the Prime Minister also praised Maisie and Red Oaks.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I was very pleased to welcome the Schools Minister to Red Oaks to see first hand the amazing work they do to support children with hearing impairments in a mainstream setting. The Minister was keen to see how the school works to ensure every pupil has the opportunity to reach their full potential and was incredibly impressed by the work the Hearing Support Team does. We are incredibly lucky to have this fantastic team in Swindon”.
Shadowing Nick and Justin on the visit was James Todd, who was undertaking work experience with Justin. He has written his account of the visit
The visit to Red Oaks Primary School was mostly an educational visit about learning how things work for deaf children in a mainstream school. In this particular school, there was an established team and support network for children who are deaf and have various hearing impairments. They have six Advisory Teachers who have qualifications in teaching deaf children, and it was interesting to see how the team worked with children with hearing impairments and the type of support they offer those who need it. They’re the only school in Swindon to have such a team.
At the visit, the teachers and staff that were trained in teaching children with hearing impairments discussed the benefits and setbacks of teaching deaf children in mainstream schools. Things like the benefits of having the children interact with children with no hearing impairments was mentioned, and then the drawbacks that a deaf child may have in mainstream school like feeling out of place due to their impairments. Attention was brought to the challenges faced, but also the wonderful work the teachers and staff did to support them.
We also got a chance to see how the children integrated and worked in the classrooms, which was pleasing to see how happy and comfortable the children were in their lessons. There were lots of opportunities for the children in the school, who were involved in all lessons. During music & French, the children with hearing impairments would take part in one on one sessions with their support teacher, these sessions were specialised for them. Each child would have their own curriculum that was adapted to their needs. It was inspirational to see how the staff supported the children and the importance of their work, and the need for their work on a national scale.