Beech Hill Community Primary School in Wigan have introduced hearing checks for their younger children, with SchoolScreener® Hearing. Early Years Phase Leader, Sharon Hobin, tells us how this has benefitted the children, their parents, and the school itself.
Beech Hill Community Challenges
Beech Hill is a larger than average primary school in a deprived area of Wigan. Over 50% of children are in receipt of free school meals. Many of their parents are not in work and there are numerous examples of adverse childhood experiences (divorce, neglect, violence, etc.). There’s a higher-than-average incidence of drinking and smoking by the parents, too.
The social background of the area means that many of the parents are not equipped to fight for services for their children when they need them. When the local School Nursing team come to check vision in Reception-aged children, the results are often ignored.
SchoolScreener® Hearing Introduction
Sharon Hobin’s own son had needed help with hearing when young, and so she knew the importance of hearing checks in young children. She also recognises the potential impact on educational attainment if hearing is not checked. And that poor hearing can be mistaken for poor behaviour in children.
Beech Hill introduced SchoolScreener® Hearing in 2019, although of course progress with it was significantly slowed by COVID.
They started with the Reception-year children. Attention was focussed on those that teachers identified as possibly having problems with phonics and were not progressing as expected.
They’re now extending coverage of hearing checks to children with problems in other years and will move class-to-class throughout the school. Also, to extend the SchoolScreener® Hearing checks to all new entry pupils, in any year.
Valuable Evidence and Support
When they re-introduced the hearing checks in December 2021, of the children targeted, 2/3rds failed the hearing check.
They re-tested that cohort in April 2022 and while the number of fails reduced the majority still failed and were referred for medical care.
Sharon Hobin explained how they help the parents; “After all hearing checks, we print out a letter with the results that explain to parents what has occurred and how they can get help from their GP”.
The school has edited and adapted the template results letter in order to provide a fuller explanation to the parents.
The main reasons that Beech Hill CPS are happy to use SchoolScreener® Hearing are:
- By identifying children with hearing problems young, they can mitigate the educational challenges quickly, which helps the children’s learning.
- Where needed, the referral letters help parents by empowering them to get the clinical help their children need.
- The school now has vital evidence, which supports other evidence gathered about why some children don’t progress as they should. It helps when dealing with the local authority education team.