School Choices and Supports

Primary school choices

Deaf and hard of hearing children can go to many different types of schools.

Below are some of the main types of schools your child could go to. Depending on where you live, you may not have all options available to you.

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

Influencers of school choice

Every child is an individual, and different settings suit different children. The decision about which school you send your child to will depend on several factors:

  • your goals and wishes for your child
  • the area you live
  • the support your child requires
  • the capacity of the school to meet your child’s needs.

Whichever school you choose, it’s important that your decision is child-centric based on age, skills and ability. Ask for the Policy on Meeting Education Needs when investigating schools.

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 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 school from a variety of perspectives including Family Support services.

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 Primary School:

Further information

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

Based on your experience, how would you rate this page?

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?