Around 30 hearing-impaired young learners in South Gloucestershire will be able to take the radio aids they use while learning in schools home with them, thanks to a £9,000 funding boost agreed as part of the 2019/20 Council Budget.
The new funding will not only roll out the support to children in early years settings, such as nurseries, but will also allow school-age children to take the devices home, so that they can continue to learn with their families and carers.
Currently around 30 children and young people use radio aids at school, but more than a third (36 per cent) of the young people who receive sensory support services are in Early Years (under five years old).
It is hoped that by providing the help to the youngest children, those with hearing impairment will not be disadvantaged in the earliest years of their learning. By being able to take the devices home, school-aged children will be better able to keep up with their hearing classmates.
South Gloucestershire Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Employment, Toby Savage, visited Yate Academy this week, where he spoke to pupils and teachers about how the radio aids help them in the classroom and the difference it will make to be able to take the devices home.
Councillor Savage said: “Our top priority as a Council is to invest in our schools and our young people, for their benefit and for the whole of South Gloucestershire. This investment is to help ensure all members of the next generation are supported to achieve their goals and full potential.
“Speaking to the pupils and staff at Yate Academy it is clear to me that being able to take these radio aids home will make a real difference to these young peoples’ lives.”
Sarah Collinson, South West Regional Director at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “This is fantastic news for deaf children in our area. With the right support, deaf children can achieve absolutely anything in life. By providing radio aid technology to very young deaf children, South Gloucestershire Council is doing a huge amount to help these children develop their language and communication skills, and break down some of the barriers that life will throw in front of them.”