The 21 staff comprises of 8 qualified Teachers of the Deaf and 13 Teaching Assistants. The Hearing Impaired Unit is integrated across the school with discrete classrooms for the delivery of elements of the curriculum.
The Head of the unit is a qualified teacher of the deaf and has worked for the Sensory Support Service for 11 years.
There are 32 Deaf pupils within the unit who come from throughout the northwest.
The overall aim of the unit is to educate and nurture our pupils so that they leave school happy, contented, well-rounded individuals.
Before coming to Sharples each pupil is assessed as to their individual needs, and from this a decision is made regarding whether they are taught in mainstream, within the unit or a combination of both.
Mainstream lessons are usually fully supported by our staff using total communication methods. This includes a combination of Sign Supported English and British Sign Language as well as modifying orally anything that the pupil needs. The mainstream teachers are used to having us in classes and we provide them with information and techniques that can be used to ensure our pupils can access all lessons.
Some lessons are taught in the unit and these include English, maths and humanities which can be delivered at a level appropriate to the pupil and often involves rewriting the scheme of work in order that the pupil may access the subject. Along with this we provide specifically designed courses which enable our pupils to access all areas of the curriculum. On occasion we will merge two year groups for certain lessons as this can be beneficial both educationally and socially.
During years 10 and 11 we work closely with the appropriate agencies to ensure our pupils can move on to further education in an environment where they will hopefully continue to flourish.
Working as closely as we do with our pupils and their families allows us to build strong relationships which means that they feel able to approach staff if they are experiencing any problems either in school or out in the wider world. This is evident by the number of ex pupils who continue to keep in touch.
The Resource Base for Children with a Visual Impairment at Sharples works closely with school to ensure our pupils can get the most out of each lesson and work safely alongside their peers. Resources are adapted and made tactile to suit the needs of each pupil into Large Print or Braille.
All our Teaching Assistants have been trained to support pupils with VI. A Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired and a Mobility Specialist deliver the specialist curriculum to ensure the children can be independent young people when they start further education.