The Local Authority and the Leadership Team at Foreland Fields School have worked closely together to meet the needs of Deaf and Hearing Impaired children with additional complex needs. This was deemed necessary a few years back owing to the sudden closure of a near-by school catering for Deaf and Hearing Impaired pupils.
We currently have 2 Teachers of the Deaf, who lead our two specialist High Communication Classes – one for lower school students and one for upper school students. Both classes are set up with a Sound Field system, which creates an optimal learning environment. We also have portable Sound Field systems in order to ensure access to the whole school environment. Both classes catering for these pupils, many of whom have British Sign Language as their first language, are supported by staff who are qualified BSL users. Each class however also uses other appropriate communication systems such as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), objects of reference, photographs and other graphic/sensory representation in order to provide a total communication environment. The pictorial IT programme 'Communicate in Print' is fully utilised with these learners in order to support pre-readers in their understanding.
The school is supported by the County Co-ordinator for Hearing Impairment. A specialist Speech and Language Therapist spends time each week in the school working with Deaf and Hearing Impaired pupils, meeting with parents/carers and designing programmes for staff to follow. Pupils may also have additional needs requiring input from specialist services such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
Pupils are encouraged to form relationships with pupils from across the school by joining their peers for routine events such as assemblies, mix with their peers at break and lunchtimes, attend enrichment activities and join in with whole school events. Deaf and Hearing Impaired pupils are supported by BSL trained staff in order to ensure their inclusion/understanding. These pupils also benefit from a range of off-site activities including horse riding sessions.
Many staff from across the school have completed their Level 1 BSL qualification, with some starting or having just completed their Level 2 qualification. These include Teachers, Teaching Assistants, our Family Liaison Officer and representatives from our Administration Team.
All staff at Foreland Fields School have attended in-house training in Deaf Awareness as well as Multi-Sensory workshops delivered by representatives from the Specialist Teaching and Learning Sensory Service. This rolling-programme of training ensures that the school meets the needs of these learners at all stages of their education.
Our Deaf and Hearing Impaired pupils will have access to independent careers advice from the school’s adviser from the Education Business Partnership Kent (EBP Kent). This impartial advisor will work with the pupils, their parents/carers and the school to plan a post school pathway.