Hampshire primary teacher recognized in House of Commons


A HAMPSHIRE primary school teacher has been recognized at a House of Commons event after being nominated by a deaf pupil she went above and beyond to support.

Hayley Fisher-Smith received her award at the Power of Speech event in the House of Commons on Tuesday June 14, which celebrated the inspiring achievements of deaf young people and highlighted the urgent need for investment to ensure that all children deaf can reach their potential.

The prestigious event was organized by Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) whose vision is that all deaf children have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers. While some deaf children will learn British Sign Language, some will learn to speak and some will use both, opportunities in life are transformed when they have access to support during the critical early years of life.

Hayley, now a teacher at Ropley Church of England Primary School, was named by Isabelle Cavanough, 7, and her mum Elise, from Alton, whom she taught and supported when she was in reception class at Bentley Church of England School, two years ago.

She said: “I was so surprised to receive this award. Isabelle was the first – and currently the only – deaf child I taught, but the support and guidance I received from Isabelle and from her mum have been invaluable. Working closely with the family and other professionals, including those at AVUK, has been a great experience and I very much appreciate the kindness of Isabelle and her family who took time to nominate me for the teacher award.”

Isabelle’s mum, Elise, added: ‘Miss Fisher-Smith really went above and beyond to not only welcome Isabelle to her class in her first year at Bentley CofE Primary School, but also to make sure she was okay. It was a pleasure to work with her and share the things we learned from AVUK and it was her awareness, attention to detail and collaboration that also identified some issues which meant adjustments could be made to her cochlear implants by quickly preventing Isabelle from falling behind. She loves school, in large part to feel safe, supported and understood from the start of her academic journey in Miss Fisher-Smith’s reception class.

Isabelle lost her hearing at 16 months, following meningitis. She is now severely deaf and wears a cochlear implant in her left ear and a hearing aid in her right.

Hayley teaches at another school, but now, in Year 2, Isabelle continues to keep up with her hearing peers at her ordinary East Hampshire village school.

Anita Grover, Chief Executive of AVUK, added: “Our amazing event celebrated what deaf children can achieve and why it’s so important that families can access fast and effective support during the critical early years of deafness. their child’s life. Far too many deaf children perform poorly in school, have poorer job prospects, and are at greater risk of poor mental health, bullying, and social exclusion. And it really shouldn’t be. When children have access to impact and early support, opportunities in life are transformed.

“We are so proud of Isabelle. It was wonderful to see the support she received at school from Hayley Fisher-Smith and how she worked together with Isabelle’s parents, the AVUK team and other professionals. Watching her receive her award from Isabelle who addressed the audience from the stage in the House of Commons was inspiring.

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