School installs mics and speakers to help children with hearing impairments

Hewett Academy students Josepha Nguele, Jessie Allen, Rebeca Bejan with one of the new classroom listening units.

Hewett Academy students Josepha Nguele, Jessie Allen, Rebeca Bejan with one of the new classroom listening units. - Credit: Inspiration trust

A secondary school has installed speakers and microphone units in every classroom as part of efforts to make lessons more accessible to hearing-impaired children.

Hewett Academy in Norwich has invested in new listening units after the Friends of Hewett charity raised £40,000 to support the school to become more inclusive.

In addition to the units, the school support charity also funded children to do a course in British Sign Language. 

This is key to the school’s drive to be as inclusive as possible, to support deaf and hard of hearing children, and to foster an inclusive community at the school, said Antony Little, executive principal.

Hewett Academy principal Antony Little.

Hewett Academy executive principal Antony Little. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

He said: “We are very lucky to be so well supported by the Friends of Hewett charity who do such great work in raising funds for really good causes for the school.

“We want to make sure every student who comes through our doors is supported to learn to the best of their ability, and these new microphone units will have already proven so valuable in supporting deaf and hard of hearing students.”

The microphone will help children to feel part of the class and ensure that they don’t miss any important information.

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The new units have been particularly helpful to support hearing impaired students as Hewett’s Covid-19 safeguards mean that teachers have been wearing masks in lessons making it extra difficult to follow lessons.

According to the National Deaf Children’s Society there are over 50,000 children and young people in the UK with hearing impairments.

Hearing-impaired children struggle at every stage of their education, with only 44pc leaving school with two or more A-levels, and 43pc reaching the expected standard for reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2 when finishing primary school.

The Hewett School officially became the Hewett Academy in September 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Hewett Academy in Norwich. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Rebecca Atkinson, chair of Friends of Hewett, which has also recently invested in a new library and outdoor gym equipment, said: “The charity is focused on encouraging our wider school community to come together and do our part to help the students. 

“This is just part of our work to make sure the school is as inclusive as possible, and we will do everything possible to support Antony and his fantastic team in providing a great education for all our students.”