Our hearing support service is an integral part of East-the-Water Primary, originally one of four centres in Devon.  Our specialised team is led by Jenny Marsh, Teacher of the Deaf. Jenny is supported by our outreach intervention worker, Linda Puddick. The team are exceptionally well qualified and experienced working within the wider deaf community. Some pupils attend East-the-Water Primary, other pupils receive outreach support from the Teacher of the Deaf or Outreach Intervention Worker as part of our successful outreach service. Our outreach service is provided at pupils’ nearest school, nursery or often within the family home. 

Places at East-the-Water Primary are allocated according to each individual pupil’s needs.  All pupils who have attended the school’s specialised provision have made good or significant progress. Pupils are taught well and support by a fully integrated and inclusive signed programme.  Our parents, over time have always felt that the provision was excellent and met the needs of their child. 

Jenny Marsh, our Teacher of the Deaf, ensures that all settings who depend on our outreach service provides excellent quality and is confidently led.  Jenny provides inset and CPD opportunities for other support staff, Teachers of the Deaf and settings to embrace the needs of the deaf community.  Level 1 BSL training is delivered at East-the-Water Primary. Parents of deaf and hearing impaired pupils meet regularly to engage and share further support from our team.

All pupils are encouraged to participate in ‘Together Days’ enabling parents, pupils and support staff to celebrate being a key part of pupils’ ever widening deaf community. 

Fluctuating Hearing Loss 

‘Glue Ear’ (Otitis Media with Effusion) is one of the most common childhood illnesses. Glue Ear is a build-up of fluid in the middle ear which over time can become thicker and stickier making it harder for sounds to pass through to the inner ear. This can make quieter sounds more difficult to hear – like listening underwater or with your fingers in your ear. In the worst cases it can reduce a child’s hearing by up to 50%. The condition can come and go, linked to a severe cold or an ear infection, but for some children it can develop unnoticed, getting steadily worse. Our team provide support and lead an annual conference for primary teachers and support staff.

East-the-Water Primary is commissioned by Devon County Council to lead specialised support for deaf and hearing impaired pupils in the North Devon area and beyond including areas such as Tiverton, Exeter, Exmouth and our rural coastal schools.


Useful websites for more information:




A prolonged period of time with reduced hearing can affect the development of a child’s speech and language. 

Does your child…

- Often not answer you or seem to ignore people?

- Say things that seem odd or at the wrong time (because they've misheard a conversation)?

- Show changes in behaviour (becoming tired or irritable)?

- Prefer to play alone?

- Find it harder to hear when it is noisy for example, at nursery or out and about against traffic noise?

- What the television turned up louder?

- Have speech difficulties?


What we do at East-the-Water

Our school has a Hearing Support Centre managed by a Teacher of the Deaf.  All the Early Years and Key Stage 1 staff have received training in recognising the signs of Glue Ear and how to make the learning environment better for any child with hearing difficulties.  In addition, all the Key Stage 1 classrooms have been equipped with Soundfield Systems to improve the listening environment enabling all the children to hear the teacher. 

What parents can do

If you are concerned about your child’s hearing talk to the class teacher to see if they have noticed any signs that your child isn’t hearing well.  If they confirm your suspicions arrange an appointment with your GP.  If your child is referred to the hospital, the process may take several months during which time your child may have inadequate hearing. It is very important, therefore, that you inform the class teacher of the results of any hearing tests so that they can make any adjustments required in the classroom.

Say things that seem odd or at the wrong time (because they’ve misheard a conversation)?