Hearing Support Unit

What is the Hearing Support Unit?

Gillian attends NRC for Occupational Studies Beauty and Nails

Deafness itself is not defined as a special educational need.  However, there are language and literacy needs arising from deafness which may require special educational provision.  Provision may take the form of speech and language therapy; support from a specialist teacher of the deaf; placement in a Learning Support Centre; or specialist equipment such as a radio aid system.


As the only Post Primary Auditory-Oral Learning Support Centre in Northern Ireland we offer a range of facilities to support the individual needs of pupils.

These include:

  • A qualified Teacher of the Deaf
  • Delivery of English in the Unit (and other subjects depending on the individual needs of the pupil)
  • Classroom Assistance in Mainstream classes
  • A Deaf-Friendly School ethos
  • Close links with parents
  • Tailored pupil timetables
  •  Integration into mainstream classes
  • Audiological checks on equipment
  • FM Radio systems

We have a dedicated team of caring, supportive and professional staff they are:

  • Mrs A Penny (Teacher in Charge)
  • Mrs L Henry (Classroom Assistant)
  • Miss S Murtagh (Classroom Assistant)
  • Mrs S Ritchie (Classroom Assistant)

What is Auditory-Oral?

Tom proudly collects his NDCS Award

‘Auditory-oral’ is a method of communication used by many deaf and hard of hearing people.  The auditory-oral approach maintains that, with the use of hearing aids, radio aids and cochlear implants to amplify residual hearing children can develop their listening skills and spoken language.


In our Hearing Support Unit, we do not use sign language or finger spelling but use natural gesture and facial expressing to underpin learning and understanding.

HSU Trip to Ballyclare May Fair


Past pupil Luke Davis at Ulster University Belfast, proudly showing his Photography Exhibition

HSU National Deaf Children’s Society Young Authors and Artists

Each year pupils from our Hearing Support Unit have the opportunity to enter the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) Young Authors and Artists Competition. This year the theme was “Three Wishes” and we had four pupils who entered seven pieces of work across the Creative Writing and Visual Art categories.

On 13th March pupils attended the Awards Ceremony at Belfast City Hall. In the12–18 years old Visual Art category Jordan Coggle and Lewis Lennox were placed 3rd, Luka Valiukaite was placed 2nd and Stephen Corry was placed 1st. In the12–18 years old Creative Writing category Lewis Lennox was placed 3rd and Stephen Corry was placed 2nd. Congratulations to everyone concerned.

Three Wishes entries to Young Authors and Artists 2018 Competition

This year four pupils from HIU are entering the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) Young Authors and Artists 2018 Competition.  This year the theme is “Three Wishes” where those entering are encouraged to design or write about the fantastic and fabulous things they would get up to if they were granted three wishes. We have 3 entries in the ‘Creative Writing’ category, 2 acrostic poems from our year 8 pupils Stephen Corry and Lewis Lennox and a rap from our year 9 pupil Jordan Coggle.  The boys have also entered a piece of work in the ‘Visual Art’ category, along with an entry from one of our Year 12 pupils Luka Valiukaite.  We are hoping to build on our success of last years’ competition, where are now year 10 pupil Tom Shaw placed 1st in the ‘Creative Writing’ aged 12 – 18 category.