The Wokingham Paper

Hearing impaired unit at Wokingham school saved at the eleventh hour


A SPECIALIST unit for hearing impaired children at a Wokingham school has been saved after a teacher was recruited.

The unit at Emmbrook Infant and Junior Schools, in Emmbrook Road, had been threatened with closure after one of its two teachers retired at the end of the school term, and the other resigning at short notice. Concerns were raised among parents and Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) that a suitable replacement would not be found in time, meaning the unit would be forced to close.

Thankfully, a specialist teacher has now been found to give students the expert support they need to see them through until they move on to secondary school, giving the council more time to explore more long-term options.

The unit benefits from bespoke support systems in its rooms, but the numbers of hearing impaired children being referred there in recent years have been falling.

From September there will only be four children attending the unit, which is designed to cater for eight students, so the council has been consulting with parents, other schools, the Berkshire Sensory Consortium and the National Deaf Children’s Society.

The unit has now been safeguarded for the current pupils until they leave, and the consultation has raised many helpful ideas about how it could continue to help the borough and Berkshire’s hearing impaired children once the current cohort has left.

WBC’s executive member for children’s services, Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor said: “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.

“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.”

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This is great news, so pleased for the school and for the families that depend on it.

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