The Special Support Centre is one of only two Primary Support Centres for deaf children in West Sussex and caters for children in the south of the county.
The pupils in the SSC all have a significant hearing loss and are supported by a Teacher of the Deaf and 6 Special Support Assistants who are experienced in working with deaf children. The children play a full part in school life alongside their peers and have an individual programme of support made up of specialist lessons and support in class.
The children wear hearing aids or cochlear implants to help them use what residual hearing they might have. In school a radio aid or soundfield system can be useful to give the teacher’s voice priority over any background noise. If you are wearing a hearing aid even a chair or pencil movement can sound really distracting! We have an audiology technician working in school and we work with the local audiology departments to ensure all hearing equipment is maintained in top working order.
Deafness affects the ability to understand and develop spoken language. We have a flexible approach to communication which involves using oral skills or sign language or a mixture of both as preferred by each child. Some deaf people and some of our pupils use sign language as their main means of communication. All the SSC team can sign well and many of the mainstream staff have also done sign language courses. Many of the hearing children are keen to learn to sign and attend sign language club run by SSC staff.
Many of the SSC pupils communicate orally and develop useful and sometimes age appropriate speech and language skills. A specialist Speech and Language Therapist works with us weekly and staff are skilled in strategies to develop language skills in young children.
As a school we cannot achieve our aims for our pupils without the support of parents and carers. As many of the SSC pupils travel from quite a distance it can be harder for parents to feel in touch with what is happening at school. We have many channels of communication with parents including a home school diary, text messages, phone calls, home visits and of course we welcome parents to visit whenever they can.
Our pupils are diverse in their needs, abilities and personalities and provide us with a prime opportunity to fulfill the River Beach motto, Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day.