Deaf Support Base

As part of its provision for Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), The Excelsior Academy has an enhanced integrated deaf support base (DSB). The DSB is a specialist provision that caters for the needs of our deaf students within a mainstream setting. In consultation with the school, students are usually referred by Hackney Education's Sensory Team for Deaf and Partially Hearing Children and Young People. Places are also available to students from out of borough schools.

The DSB caters for students with moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss specified in their EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan) as their priority needs as well as deaf students who do not have an EHCP but wish to attend and access the benefits of the DSB. We support the needs of our deaf students as members of the school community, through speaking and listening (auditory oral) as a method of communication and learning.

Salma Adam is the Lead Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People at the DSB. She plays an active role in organising, managing, and facilitating the personal, social, emotional and intellectual development of deaf students.

The Inclusion team supports and encourages the development of our students’ independence, self confidence, and deaf identity. Also, we work together to address the educational needs of our deaf students and remove barriers to learning by consulting and liaising with our students, mainstream staff, families/carers, other professionals, and external agencies.

We recognise the importance of developing every deaf student as an individual focusing on their language, communication, social and emotional well-being. We provide a nurturing and welcoming environment in which our deaf students are supported in reaching their social and academic goals. Our deaf students are respected and encouraged to be confident mature young people where they recognise and develop their full potential.

Aims Of The DSB:

  • We have high expectations of our deaf students and include equal access and opportunities in both the academic and social life of the school.
  • We ensure that every deaf student is treated as an individual and their needs are considered on an individual basis, areas of difficulty are supported and achievements are celebrated.
  • We provide a language-rich environment ensuring deaf students’ communication skills are developed preparing them to be confident individuals and interact successfully throughout life.
  • We maintain an inclusive environment with a positive attitude towards deafness in the school and good communication between teachers of deaf children and young people, mainstream subject teachers, and support staff.
  • We ensure equal access to a broad mainstream curriculum by adapting and making reasonable adjustments to support the individual needs of deaf students.
  • We provide specialist support and advice to mainstream staff; ensuring effective teaching and learning of deaf students so that they make good progress and narrow the attainment gap.
  • We promote deaf awareness and curriculum delivery skills within the school community where students actively participate and take on the role of making their needs known and developing their confidence.
  • We ensure that each deaf student makes the best use of their residual hearing through the use of their hearing aids, cochlear implants, BAHA and assistive learning devices.
  • We develop each student’s personal understanding of deafness, and their self-independence in the use and maintenance of their audiological equipment.
  • We provide the best possible acoustic environment for deaf students continuing to develop their listening skills and language development.
  • We enable deaf students to develop age-appropriate social skills, have good levels of self-esteem, and develop a positive self-identity.

Should you wish to visit the DSB at any time, please contact Salma Adam at:

020 7275 1504


DSB Staff

We are a team of highly skilled and experienced professionals. The team includes:

  • Lead Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People (LEAD QToD)
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENDCo)
  • Deputy SENDCo
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA)
  • Specialist Learning Support Assistants (LSA)
  • Intervenors and specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SALT)

We also have additional support from Hackney Education and other agencies such as the Audiology and Cochlear Implant Teams, Specialist Teacher for Multi Sensory Impairment (MSI), Specialist Teacher for Visual Impairment, Educational Psychologist, Occupational Therapy, Deaf CAMHS, Young Hackney and ASPACE (In house counselling).

DSB Newsletters


Expectations for all our deaf students are high and we aim to develop each students’ academic potential whilst developing their independent learning skills and communicative competence. Our students play a full and active part in the life of The Excelsior Academy.

As an inclusive resource base, we encourage and support our students to have the maximum possible opportunity to share and exchange with other members of the school community. Our students are members of a tutor group with their hearing peers and participate in a full range of academic and enrichment activities, including those that encourage an understanding of deaf culture and the wider deaf community.

We recognise that all students may have different needs, and as a result, organise support packages to maximise learning opportunities. Each student is provided with a personalised timetable allowing for pre and post-teaching for mainstream classes and additional literacy if needed.

Our students attend after school study support sessions for individual learning and homework, other clubs such as reading and creative writing clubs as well as sports activities. They also take part in their own Annual Review of EHCP process together with setting and reviewing their targets.

Students have access to the curriculum and most students spend the majority of their lessons in mainstream classrooms with support from a Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People or a Learning Support Assistant appropriate to their needs. In mainstream classrooms, our deaf students are taught alongside their hearing peers for the majority of their timetable. They are supported by experienced staff from DSB where staff work closely with mainstream subject teachers ensuring work is fully accessible and students can learn and achieve their maximum potential. In addition to ensuring the listening environment is good and supplying specialist equipment and advice to all staff, the staff in DSB also use a variety of strategies such as note-taking, providing glossaries and word banks, presenting visual materials, co-ordinating group work, parallel teaching, providing differentiating tasks and language modifying of materials.

In an inclusive school like ours, the effective education of all deaf students is a whole school responsibility. We strive to promote deaf awareness within the school community and therefore; all staff receive deaf awareness training and curriculum delivery skills delivered by Qualified Teachers of Deaf Children and Young People and other specialist staff/professionals and this is ongoing throughout the school year. Deaf awareness sessions are also delivered to students during Deaf Awareness Week and our deaf students themselves play an active role in delivering strategies to their teachers and hearing peers raising the profile of this culture within the school.

Communication Needs

We are an auditory oral provision which means that we focus on teaching through speaking and listening. We have a strong commitment to helping students develop their vocabulary, grammar and speech. Our students are taught to use their hearing, lip reading and contextual cues to understand and use spoken language and function independently in the school environment ultimately preparing them for the wider areas in life.

This mode of communication stresses the consistent use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. This also emphasises oral language along with naturally occurring conversational cues such as lip reading which uses visual information from the face, body and environment to help understand spoken words.  Oral language develops students’ reading and writing skills which are crucial to all academic areas.

Students are supported by the Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Learning Support Assistants in many different ways where they will use visual cues, video clips and pre and post tutoring to reinforce key ideas/concepts clarifying anything that may have been missed and also provide note taking for students to use later while they focus on mainstream teachers in classroom. They also have the SMiLE Therapy interventions led by the Speech and Language Therapist to develop their hierarchy of communication strategies for interactions in the hearing world.

DSB Support Tutorials and Specialist Intervention

All members of the staff in the DSB are trained to meet the specific needs of every deaf student. To access the curriculum, support is offered to deaf students within mainstream lessons by a Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People and learning support assistants, with additional support provided through one-to-one and small group targeted tutorials. This provision is matched to our deaf students’ needs.

The DSB support tutorials are arranged to offer further individual and small group work to students where the mainstream curriculum is adapted or consolidated and Literacy, Numeracy and Communication Skills are taught and developed. Time is used to reinforce any subjects that need to be pre-taught or post-taught in preparation for mainstream lessons.  This enables students to grasp difficult concepts and iron out misconceptions. It also facilitates access to the curriculum content within the lessons, reducing many language barriers that deaf students face in mainstream schools. 

In KS4, DSB Support Tutorial sessions is an option choice. During these sessions, students get additional curriculum support in order to prepare them for external exams and assessments. We want our students to work with and alongside their peers, further developing their confidence and making good educational progress.

Professionals from other agencies including a qualified teacher of multi sensory impairment, educational psychologist, Deaf CAMHS, occupational therapy, in house counselling, social services all visit the DSB on a regular basis.

We have a Speech and Language Therapist based in the DSB two days a week; who has specialised training to work with deaf students. Students are seen according to their needs one-to-one or in small groups. During these sessions, they work on their communication skills including speech production. They also learn to develop strategies for dealing with different social situations. As well as supporting our deaf students, these professionals also advise staff and offer training in order to meet a wider range of our students’ needs.

Assessment and Review of Progress

Assessments help us to decide how we can best teach and support each student. All students are assessed against the National Curriculum and student progress is continually monitored by their subject teachers through the formative and summative assessments. All our deaf students have access arrangements in place approved by the JQC for external assessments.

In addition to this; based on the deaf student's needs, they also take annual language assessments in the DSB to monitor their progress in their receptive and expressive vocabulary and grammar.  These assessments are further discussed with parents during parents' evenings, Annual Reviews of EHCP and the DPR system that the school uses which informs parents/carers regularly where their child is at in their learning.

The school and the DSB operate an open-door policy and parents/carers can make appointments with teachers and the DSB Lead to discuss their child's progress.

Deaf students’ progress is regularly monitored by the DSB Lead who ensures that additional support is provided as necessary and can offer advice and practical ways in which parents can support their child at home.

DSB Lead reviews the assessment information data and sets individual targets regularly that are measurable in collaboration with the subject teacher. The students themselves and parents/carers also play an active role in this process. These review targets are then shared with the mainstream staff through their one-page profiles and these are reviewed and amended as necessary.  Students who receive interventions from specialist services within the school will also have their progress in these areas assessed by the relevant professionals involved.  If a student seems to have an emerging or additional need, it may be that there will be additional assessments carried out in the DSB or by professionals from external agencies.

In the DSB, there will also be an annual review meeting at least once a year with all professionals involved, including the students themselves.

Audiology and Personal Understanding of Deafness

To enable deaf students to achieve their best potential in a mainstream school, maximum use is made of students’ residual hearing or cochlear implants; through supporting optimal use of their hearing aids, speech processors and radio aids.

We encourage the use of hearing aids and monitor the listening conditions throughout the school as well as advise staff on how to use radio aids effectively through our delivery of training programmes. The DSB is well equipped with a range of materials and technology, has acoustically treated rooms and sound field systems available in some classrooms.


Our students get a radio aid on entry into the DSB and they have access to a radio aid at all times. In lessons, deaf students use the Roger Touch Transmitter and some even have the option of using Roger Pen so they have clear access to the teachers’ voice over distance. All teachers are provided with regular training to ensure correct strategies are applied in classrooms for our students to learn effectively.


Our deaf students come to the DBS each morning to get their listening and visual checks of their personal audiological equipment. Deaf students are encouraged to use and be responsible for their own amplification equipment. The Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People regularly checks their hearing aids, speech processors and transmitters. Minor issues are troubleshooted within the DSB ensuring technology is working optimally. There is close liaison with Hackney Ark (which is right at our doorstep and we are very fortunate!) and hospitals so repairs and replacements can be arranged for quickly when equipment problems are more complex to resolve. Moreover, we have a regular termly visit from our Audiology technician who tests deaf students’ equipment using Test Box and records all data.

We strongly advocate for our deaf students to develop a positive understanding of their deafness. Students follow Deaf Matters Curriculum where they learn about their deafness, their audiograms and the technologies available. They also learn advocacy skills and are encouraged to manage their audiology needs where they are taught to report problems effectively and to deal with basic maintenance such as cleaning and retubing. They also explore their deaf history and culture, a visiting Deaf Instructor delivers sessions about deafness too. We promote local deaf societies and invite deaf role models into our DSB to meet with our deaf students. We also develop their confidence in their ability to self-advocate, self determine and equip them with all the skills they need to manage change and adulthood.

Mental Health and Social and Emotional Development

We pride ourselves on our inclusive environment. We strongly place equal importance on both the academic and social and emotional development and mental health of our deaf students. We promote high self-esteem in order to achieve positive well-being in our students.

In the DSB, we work with the students to acquire social skills and resilience needed to develop their self-confidence. Our students have access to the DSB before and after school and also during break and lunch times. Staff in the DSB know their students very well, they are encouraged to reflect on their feelings and any additional help required is offered. We have an elected Deaf DSB Champion who acts as a student mentor for our deaf students where they feel they can share and communicate with their deaf peers. The DSB provision also supports and develops deaf students in Speech and Language Therapy sessions where they deliver to students social skills in small groups and also through NDCS ‘Healthy Minds’ programme.

Moreover, students have access to a comprehensive programme of quiet breaks and lunch times as well as after school activities and enrichments clubs every day. The school also offers interventions for supporting vulnerable students, screening, supervised learning, mentoring services, youth services and support during the unstructured times of school day.

Home School Liaison

The DSB aims to work closely with parents and carers at all times. Parents/carers are encouraged to stay in touch with the DSB as much as they can. We offer an open door policy and parents/carers can contact the Lead Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People in DSB to discuss progress and any issues arising. Parents/carers also meet annually for their child’s annual review of the Education Health Care Plan and also meet the Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children throughout the year during parents’ evenings.


The DSB provides a programme of support to ensure all deaf students achieve a smooth transition from primary to secondary school. We work closely with students, their primary feeder schools and families to ensure that this is tailored to meet the needs of the student.

We advise parents of deaf students to contact the DSB and arrange visits, meet the Lead Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People and ask questions. We also encourage potential deaf students to come and see the DSB, have a tour of the school and take their ‘Student Welcome Booklet’.  Additionally, we also work with local primary schools and offer a series of pre-transfer visits with support to help students become familiar with the setting. These take place in the form of workshops with students, coffee question and answer mornings with parents and also working with Hackney Education SEND team to improve liaison with students and their families.

The Lead Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People works closely with the primary feeder schools and attends transition meetings in Year 5 where secondary schools are discussed and share vital information in order to make transition as smooth as possible. Post admission the students also have the opportunity to attend the Summer School programme offered by the school where they get to meet the other peers in a smaller group and also get to meet and know their Qualified Teacher of Deaf Children and Young People.

The Post 16 transition programme is equally supported by the DSB. Guidance and support is provided to students as they progress into tertiary education, university or work.

DSB Student Handbook 2023/24

Useful Links

Please see below some useful external links to other websites which are not under the control of the DSB and the Petchey Academy. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of these sites. The inclusion of any link does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

Action On Hearing Loss






Royal Deaf