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Support for home learning - coronavirus info for families of deaf children

Published Date: 02 Oct 2020

Accessing online learning and education resources at home

If your child is not attending school then we expect that teachers will prepare work that is sent home or made available via the school’s homework app. Some schools may also be delivering or signposting to remote teaching or online learning whilst children are at home.

Education settings are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that your child can access any remote teaching or online learning at home. We expect education settings to prepare and think about how they would do this if the school or college had to close. If you have any concerns about how accessible or appropriate any remote learning or teaching will be for your child, you should speak to your child’s teacher or Teacher of the Deaf. This way, you can ensure that whatever method of contact is used, your child can access it and be included.

In England, schools will be legally required to provide remote teaching if your child cannot attend school because of coronavirus.

Some things to think about

  • Will teachers be taking steps to ensure that any remote teaching is deaf-friendly? We have produced a checklist for teachers with some tips on how they can ensure any remote learning is accessible for your child.
  • Are online videos being subtitled? For example, BBC Bitesize are subtitling their new daily lessons, whilst all of the videos at the Oak National Academy are subtitled and many are BSL interpreted.
  • For online teaching, some software (e.g. Google Hangouts) is available with automatic translation and there are some apps that do the same – however, the feedback we have from young people is that the reliability of these can vary.
  • Even if your child does not usually have communication support in class, they may require it for accessing online teaching. Remote speech-to-text support and BSL interpreting are now both well-established and easily accessible. Your Teacher of the Deaf can help with exploring options for funding this.
  • Ask your child’s school or Teacher of the Deaf about bringing their radio aid home. For many deaf children, radio aids will allow them to continue their learning and access sound on their computers, tablets or mobiles. It may also help them to keep in touch with family and friends and avoid feelings of isolation.

In Northern Ireland, the Sensory Service has produced tailored guidance on online learning.

Access to equipment

If your child is unable to access any online or remote teaching because they don’t have a laptop or tablet, you should let your child’s school know to see if they can provide one or if they can access funding from elsewhere.

It may also be worth speaking to your child’s Teacher of the Deaf to see if the local authority can help.

Your child’s Teacher of the Deaf may also be able to help if you think that using a radio aid or any other specialist equipment at home might help your child to access any online or remote teaching.

You can also apply to the Family Fund for a grant to buy any equipment you may need.

Further guidance on home learning

Take a look at our website for some top tips on home learning. You can also download our Helping your deaf child to learn resources for families. The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf website also includes a list of useful resources for home learning.

More information about home learning can also be found on the UK Government websites: 

In Northern Ireland, the Sensory Service has published information on how they will be supporting families. The Education Authority in Northern Ireland has also published information about education for parents in British and Irish Sign Language.