Hearing Impairment

The Specialist Teaching and Preschool Service includes a team of qualified Teachers of the Deaf who provide specialist educational and audiology advice and support for children and young people with a hearing impairment and their families from the point of diagnosis. For babies and preschool children we offer support both in the home and in preschool settings. The team includes British Sign Language instructors and Family Support keyworkers.

A day in the life of a Teacher of the Deaf

A day in the life of our Educational Audiologist

We work closely with families of children and young people with a hearing impairment, and with staff in preschools, schools and post-school education settings as well as with other professionals (eg audiologists and speech and language therapists) and voluntary organisations.

We offer home visits to families of preschool children with a hearing impairment in order to provide support, advise on strategies, monitor and assess the development of listening, language, learning and interaction skills.

We also provide local communication groups for preschool deaf children, staffed by a teacher of the deaf and a Family Support keyworker. These are known as CHIPS (Children with Hearing Impairment Play and Stay) and provide structured opportunities for small groups of deaf children to support the development of listening, language and interaction skills alongside other relevant activities (eg audiological assessments, family liaison etc). Our Family Support keyworkers offer additional support to families of preschool deaf children where specific areas for further development have been identified by a teacher of the deaf.

We assess, support, monitor and provide advice regarding aspects of the development of deaf children/young people in relation to hearing impairment, including language development, literacy development, social and emotional development and audiological needs.

We provide support, advice and written reports in line with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice with regard to ‘One Planning‘ and Education, Health and Care Plans.

We provide advice and training to staff in educational settings at preschool, school and post -school establishments in order to ensure that hearing impaired children and young people have full access to the curriculum.

We provide educational settings with specialist equipment, such as radio aids and the training and support required to use them effectively. We also provide acoustic audits of the learning environment.

We provide support and advice at the point of transition from one educational setting to another, including for young people transferring from a specialist hearing impaired resource base or school for the deaf into a mainstream post-school setting.

We provide advice and guidance regarding public examinations and the consideration of the needs of hearing impaired children and young people.

Our sign language instructors offer children and young people instruction in BSL. This may be based in either the home setting, preschools, mainstream schools, specialist hearing impairment resource bases or post-school educational establishments.

This service is centrally funded by the local authority and there is no cost to the user.

The service uses the NatSIP eligibility criteria to guide decision-making over support allocation for individual children and young people with hearing impairment (HI) through systematic consideration of a wide range of relevant factors.

Useful information

Families who have a child supported by a Specialist Teacher (Hearing Impairment) can contact us via one of the following mailboxes:









Lead Specialist Teacher (Hearing Impairment): Matthew Bysouth

Who the service provides for

We are an advisory service and as such provide support and advice to families and to staff working in pre-schools, schools and post-school educational establishments, with regard to children and young people with a hearing impairment.

Children and young people who are supported by our service have been diagnosed by an audiological specialist with either a permanent hearing impairment/auditory neuropathy and/or have been provided with personal amplification, such as hearing aids.

Hours of operation

Term time only

How the service is accessed

Referrals to this service are usually made directly by local audiology or ENT services at the moment of diagnosis or, alternatively, by pre-schools, schools or post-school educational establishments. Families cannot refer children directly although discussions with families are always welcomed.

Operational locations

  • Essex


County Hall
Market Road