School Choices and Supports

High school choices

Just as with Primary School, there are different types of schools your child can attend.

Below are some of the main types of schools your child could go to. The options available to you may depend on where you live.

Mainstream School
Mainstream School with a Specialist Unit
School for Deaf Children
Specialist School for Deaf Children

Involving your child

At this age, it is even more important that your child is involved in decision-making. Their perspective is central – they are part of the informed and shared decision making approach that is core to the HEARO experience.

As well as your hopes for your child, their goals and wishes must be taken into account. Your child will have dreams and aspirations of their own, and you want to empower those to support their growing independence.

Other factors to take into consideration include the supports your child needs, and the capacity of the school to meet your child’s needs. From the Primary School experience you will already have insight into the types of learning environments that help your child thrive the most.

Below are some of the defining characteristics of each type of school.

Mainstream school

Your child may go to a ‘mainstream’ school, which is a typical Primary School. In a mainstream setting your child may or may not need the support of an Itinerant Support Teacher.

The Education Department can give you a list of schools in your area, and can also help you to access an Itinerant Support Teacher.

Mainstream school with a specialist unit

Some mainstream schools have a unit specifically for deaf and hard of hearing children.

Classroom(s) have been adapted especially for teaching children with hearing loss. In some schools, deaf children are taught only in the deaf unit. In others, deaf children have some classes within mainstream classes, with or without support, and have some classes in the specialist unit.

Schools for deaf children

These schools use a bilingual-bicultural approach. The goal is competence in both Auslan and written English, and ease fitting in both the Deaf and hearing communities.

Specialist schools for deaf children

These schools are for deaf children with special educational needs or disabilities. These schools will have specialist equipment, staff, support and teaching strategies.

Choosing a school

This is one of the biggest decisions you are likely to make for your child. Know that you’re not on your own. To help you along the way, remember the HEARO philosophy:

Get Informed
Share your Decision Making
Be Family- Centred

The ultimate purpose of all this is for your growing child to be happy at school! With happiness comes a love of learning, increased confidence and a growth mindset.

Narrowing your choice

It is vital that the school you choose is able to meet the educational needs of your child. In our experience, these 5 considerations go a long way in making a final selection.

  1. Visit all the different types of schools that your child could attend. You will get insight into how different styles of schooling will be capable of meeting your child’s needs.
  2. Plan your school visits: know what you need to ask, and have a checklist ready. We can help you with this, and there are some useful links below.
  3. If you are considering a school, go back for a second visit with your child, and see what your child judges to be the pros and cons of a school. Their perspective is very important – they are part of an informed and shared decision-making approach.
  4. As you begin narrowing your choices, these are other factors to consider:
    1. Technological support
    2. Deaf awareness of staff
    3. Staff expectations of achievement and excellence
    4. Class sizes
    5. Lighting and acoustics.
  5. Social and emotional wellbeing is also essential.
    1. What social supports does the school offer?
    2. What about playtime?
    3. Is the playground supervised by staff who have deaf awareness?

How we help

We help you navigate this important milestone as your child transitions to high school from a variety of perspectives including Family Support.

We can also connect you to parents that have been on the journey before you. Check out our Parent to Parent Mentor Program for further information.

Useful links

Here are some further links to support you on your journey of selecting a High School:

Further information

At HEARO, we’re always looking for ways to continuously improve our service.

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