Our local Hearing Support Centre is an integral part of East-the-Water Primary, one of four centres in Devon.  Our specialised team is led by Jenny Marsh, Teacher of the Deaf. The team consists of 4 highly able Teaching Assistants with Level 2 and Level 3 British Sign Language qualifications. Some deaf and hearing impaired pupils attend East-the-Water Primary. Other pupils receive outreach support from the Teacher of the Deaf or Teaching Assistant as part of our successful outreach service. Our outreach service is provided at the pupil’s nearest school, nursery or in 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.  The vast majority of our parents feel that the provision is excellent and meets 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 opportunities for other support staff, Teachers of the Deaf and settings to embrace the needs of the deaf community. All pupils are encouraged to participate in ‘Together Days’ enabling parents, pupils and support staff to celebrate being a key part of an ever widening deaf community. 

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.

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.


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)?



At our school we believe that all children can benefit from an environment where signs are used to support communication. Therefore we have a programme in place to ensure this specialism can sustained over time. Key staff within the Hearing Support Centre team have Level 2 or level 3 BSL (British Sign Language) and ensure BSL is embraced across the school. The school hosts weekly training which enables 10 staff to gain Level 1 BSL qualification