Deaf and Partially Hearing Service - Inclusion and Specialist Support Team

Service details

Who are we? 

The  Deaf and Partially Hearing  team provide a range of support for babies, children and young people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, including those with additional  and complex needs .  The team is part of Hackney's Integrated SEND Service, and sits within the Inclusion and Specialist Support Team

Our aim is to improve the education and life outcomes for Deaf and Partially Hearing babies, children and young people. We do this by offering  comprehensive support to the children and young people aged 0-25. 

What if English is not my first language? 

If a child, young person or family has English as an additional language, we can work with interpreters to make sure they can access our services and support.

Who works in our service?

The Deaf and Partially Hearing Team includes Qualified teachers of the Deaf, a Deaf Instructor and a Portage Home visitor. The team is coordinated by a Lead Specialist Teacher for Deaf and Partially Hearing children and young people.

We work in partnership with other specialist services including; Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapists in Deafness, audiologists at Hackney Ark, GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital) and the RNENT (Royal National Ear, Nose and Throat) Hospital and our Specialist Teacher for children and young people with a multi-sensory impairment (MSI).

What support do we offer?

We provide support, advice and information for pre-school and school aged children and young people. We also provide support for young people who are in local Colleges and training schemes. We provide support for young people with additional needs up until the age of 25.

We offer a range of support including:

  • Advice on communication approaches for deaf children and young people (CYP) - this includes spoken language, British Sign Language (BSL), and Sign Supported English (SSE)
  • Supporting the use of hearing aids and Cochlear Implants
  • Advising on the use of assistive listening devices (ALDs) including radio aids.
  • supporting children with social skills, self advocacy and social and emotional wellbeing
  • advising on adapting the environment and curriculum to meet the learning needs of a Deaf CYP.
  • Helping young deaf people prepare for adulthood.

We can also provide information about relevant voluntary organisations e.g National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) and Remark

Who do we work with?

We provide a service to all children and young people with a permanent mild to profound sensorineural hearing loss, affecting one or both ears.

We support children and young people with an ongoing conductive hearing loss where the impact is significant. These children and young people may be prescribed hearing aids such as Bone Conduction Hearing aids on a soft or hard band (BCHAs).

We use the NATSIP Framework to determine level of support. Visits from the service range from weekly to once a year depending on the needs of the child or young person.

With your permission, we will share information which explains the level of support we provide for your child or young person called a 'record of visit report' to schools and settings. Copies are also sent to the audiology clinic and other professional working with the child. Parents or young people can also receive a copy of the record of visit.

How do we work with services in other boroughs?

We work flexibly with Deaf and Partially Hearing services in other boroughs to provide support for children and young people  who live in Hackney but go to a school or college out of the borough.

The Newborn Screening Hearing Test

The Newborn Screening Hearing Test helps identify babies who have permanent hearing loss as early in life as possible. This means parents and carers can get the support and advice for their child from the start.

We offer weekly visits to families with newborn babies diagnosed with deafness. We work with parents and carers to monitor their child’s progress, in communication,  listening and vocalising, BSL and play. We use Success from the Start, a developmental resource for families of deaf children aged 0-3.

The Portage Worker Home Visitor (HV)

Hackney Portage Service is an educational home-visiting service. It offers parental education, support and advice to families who have a pre-school child with additional needs.

The Specialist Portage worker works closely with health professionals, children’s centres, Nurseries and Playgroups to promote inclusion for children. They support parents or carers to understand their child’s development. They can offer practical ideas, strategies, access to appropriate toys and materials that promote developmental progress and can discuss any concerns and make onward referrals if needed.

Is there a drop-in sessions for families ?

When there is demand, The DPH team runs a monthly drop in session, called Buzzy Bees, for families with deaf and partially hearing children aged 0-3 and a half.  The session is held at Hackney Ark a centre where many of the boroughs specialist services are based. These sessions provide parents with an opportunity to:

  • meet other parents
  • join in our music and singing sessions with other children and families
  • take part in a range of play activities including soft play
  • talk to professionals; Qualified Teachers of the Deaf (QToDs), the Portage Worker, Deaf Instructor, Speech and Language Therapists and or audiologists
  • have hearing aid impressions taken

Please Note: During the Summer 2023 school term the service is not running Buzzy Bees sessions but we are offering Coffee Mornings to all parents or carers with Deaf children up to the age of 11. More information, about the venue, dates and times can be found in the information flyer  (PDF) here. 

What support does our services offer to children in schools?

Primary, secondary and special schools in Hackney with deaf pupils have an allocated Qualified Teachers of the Deaf who:

  • meets with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) to monitor the progress of Deaf and Partially Hearing pupils in the school
  • advise staff on strategies for including deaf children
  • offer bespoke support for children in their learning
  • carry out assessments of their learning environment and make recommendations to improve this
  • check audiological equipment and train staff to do this
  • offer deaf awareness training
  • contribute to planning meetings, Annual Reviews and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

Extra support at school and the Deaf Resource Provision

The Petchey Academy  is one of Hackney’s secondary schools and has an enhanced integrated Deaf Support Base (DSB).  The DSB is a specialist provision which caters for the needs of Deaf Students within a mainstream setting.  The needs of the Deaf students are supported through speaking and listening (auditory oral) as a method of communicating and learning.

The service can give parents and carers information about schools in other London boroughs that have deaf provisions including: 

Primary schools

Primary and Secondary school

Secondary schools

Post 16 colleges and settings

Deaf and Partially Hearing support arrangements for Post 16 Students 

The Deaf and Partially Hearing Team supports and monitors the progress of Deaf post-16 students. This support focuses on supporting and increasing their confidence and independence.

BSix 6th Form College and New City College Hackney both have a dedicated Qualified Teacher of the Deaf who supports students and advises settings on inclusive strategies.
Student support is planned according to their hearing loss and level of need using the NATSIP Framework. Provision is regularly reviewed to ensure it is effective.

Post 16 students from Hackney that attend education settings outside of the borough are monitored each year by a dedicated QToD. The QToD will communicate and work with the provider and any other QToDs borough's specialist team. We do not offer regular visits to Hackney residents who attend out of borough colleges and settings.

How does the Deaf Instructor provide support?

The Deaf Instructor supports families, children and young people and schools and settings. They offer:

  • communication skills and deaf awareness for adults working with deaf pupils
  • sign language courses, including Family Sign and BSL Level 1 and 2 and bespoke training at home for families
  • Healthy Minds training for Deaf and Partially Hearing children and young people. This helps them gain confidence in their own identity and develop positive strategies for managing their own deafness and social skills
  • individual mentoring to Deaf and Partially Hearing young people at school or at home.
  • D/deaf awareness training for pupils to enable better communication between everyone

Listening equipment (Assistive Listening Devices or ALDs)

We can arrange loans of a variety of ALDs to Deaf and Partially Hearing pupils in the Hackney e.g. radio aids and Mini Mics. These are set up and monitored by a technician from the Ewing Foundation

We can advise schools about purchasing listening equipment that would be useful for children with a mild or unilateral hearing loss but who do not wear hearing aids e.g. sound field systems. These can benefit all children in a class.
We also offer home loans of equipment on request, find out how this process works in our Radio Aid Policy

Communication approaches

We offer impartial and supportive advice about different communication methods such as:

  • auditory/oral
  • Total Communication
  • sign bilingualism

The Deaf and Partially Hearing (DPH) Team and Elective Home Education (EHE) 

If a parent-carer decides to educate their child at home, they take on responsibility for their child’s education. This is called Elective Home Education (EHE).
If this is a choice you are making, we advise that you register for EHE when your child reaches compulsory school age (the term after their 5th birthday). Information and instructions on the process are available in Hackney Education's Elective Home Education (EHE) Policy. 

The Deaf and Partially Hearing (DPH) team monitors home education provision with a visit once a term or once a year depending on the nature and extent of sensory impairment.

If the child has an EHC Plan, a request for a Personal Education Budget can be made through the EHC Planning Team. A timetable of education activities, with any costs, must be provided as evidence for the funding. This is sometimes called provision mapping.

Personal Budget applications and activities will be considered by the EHC Planning Panel or EHC Plan Management Team. This is the team and panel that makes the final decision to agree on the personal education budget.

If you do not agree with a decision that has been made parent's have a right of appeal through the SEND tribunal process.

If the education provided to a child Educated at Home is found to be not suitable, attendance procedures will be applied.

SEND Local Offer

Training and Experience

The team all have British Sign Language qualifications.

All members of the team regularly update their knowledge and skills through attending specialist training for Teachers of the Deaf.

Local Offer Age Bands
Early Years and Pregnancy 0-4
Primary 4 -10
Secondary 11-14
Preparing for Adulthood 14-18
Young Adults 18 - 25
SEN Provision Type
  • Targeted
  • Specialist

Who to contact

Contact Name
Quita Smythe
020 8820 7233 020 8820 7233 07767007646 07767007646

Where to go

Hackney Integrated SEND Service (floor 3)
Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street

E8 1DY

View E8 1DY on a map
Venue Notes

Buses: 30, 38, 388, 55, 106, 236, 242, 253, 276, 277, D6

Train: London Fields, Hackney Central, Hackney Downs

Other details

Who is eligible?

We provide a service to all children and young people with a permanent sensorineural hearing loss - mild to profound, affecting one or both ears.

We support children and young people with an ongoing conductive hearing loss where the impact is significant.

These children have usually been prescribed hearing aids.

Referral required?


Referral Details

Referrals to the service usually come through the following organisations:

  • The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme
  • Audiology Departments at Hackney Ark
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital 

We often meet parents for the first time at the Audiology Clinic and stay in contact with them after the first meeting by phone email and text. 

What to do if you have a complaint

Services will often ask for feedback to help them understand how to make sure people they work with have a good experience.

If you have feedback about this service, you can talk to the person who worked with you or, if you feel more comfortable, a service manager. They look at your feedback and try to help sort out any problems.

If you are still not happy you can raise your concerns formally. This means someone who is not part of the service will look at your feedback or concern and see if anything can or needs to be done to help make things better.

If you need to make a formal complaint you can use the London Borough of Hackney complaints procedure.

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