A dedicated unit for hearing impaired pupils in a mainstream Wokingham Borough school will be open as normal this September now a specialist teacher has been recruited in time.
The hearing impaired unit at Emmbrook Infant and Junior Schools had been under threat with one of its two teachers retiring end of term this week and the other resigning at short notice, so the borough council had been concerned about the short timescale to find a suitable replacement.
But now the unit will be able to give its pupils the expert support they need until they move onto secondary education, while the council explores flexible options for its long term future.
The unit has bespoke support systems in its rooms and is a valuable educational resource, but in recent years the number of hearing impaired pupils being referred there has been steadily falling.
From this September there will be only four pupils for a unit designed for eight, so during the past few weeks the borough council has been consulting with parents, other schools, the Berkshire Sensory Consortium and the National Deaf Children’s Society.
The unit is now safeguarded for its current pupils until they leave thanks to the teacher’s recruitment, and the consultation has raised many helpful ideas about how it could continue to help the borough and Berkshire’s hearing impaired children once its current cohort has left.
“Having a teacher on board is fantastic news for the children because it means they can stay in the unit they enjoy and continue their education as planned,” said Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for children’s services.
“Thank you to all the parents who were so generous with their time in the consultation. They were key in helping us get the best outcome for the children. They’ve had a huge impact on the decision-making process and we hope to continue this dialogue.”