June 14, 2024

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Identifying pupils with mild-moderate hearing / sight loss important for removing academic barriers

A recent webinar for educators has shown interesting results in a poll of delegates (heads of SEN, head teachers and other senior leaders in primary and secondary schools).

The webinar focused on identifying and supporting pupils with mild to moderate hearing and sight loss as part of school inclusion and welfare programmes and included an extensive Q&A with Thomson Screening’s clinical leadership. The event was organised by the Mark Allen Group (which also runs the TES SEND conference and publishes Headteacher Update and SecED) and was supported by Thomson Screening (a spin out company of City, University of London, Department of Optometry).

Of the 510 attendees, 92% gave high importance to identifying and supporting children with mild to moderate vision and hearing loss.

At the beginning of the webinar a poll was taken, asking: “How would you rate your understanding of visual and hearing impairment in children and young people, including the signs to look out for, the impact of these conditions on their educational and social development, and how students need to be supported in school?”

Although the webinar was attended by educators responsible for Inclusion & Welfare only a low 31% of respondents rated their understanding as good (24%) or very good (7%).  And almost half responded that their understanding was simply “fair”.

Towards the end of the webinar a second poll took place, this time asking delegates what the largest benefits to their school of checking pupils for vision and hearing deficits might be. Here the results were strikingly conclusive; an overwhelming 92% responded that the largest benefit would be to “identify and remove academic barriers for students”.

Michael Ter-Berg, CEO of Thomson Screening, which developed SchoolScreener for Schools screening software, said: “We were surprised that so few of the educators attending felt their understanding was good or above. That said, the aim of the webinar was to address how schools can easily check children as they develop through Key Stages 2 and 3 and how to support these children as part of school welfare and inclusion activities. Those attending, and the feedback we received, overwhelmingly reassured us that delegates went away from the webinar feeling far more secure in their knowledge and understanding of identifying and supporting young people with mild to moderate vision and hearing problems.”

Michael went on to say: “The 92% figure demonstrates the importance of checking children’s eyesight and hearing as they develop through Key Stages 2 and 3.  It also underscores the importance of research, showing that children with vision and hearing issues are more likely to miss Key Stage 2 targets and underperform at GSCE, as well as other research in recent years identifying the impact of unidentified vision and hearing loss on  social development and behavior.”

To further support educators and schools all 1,344 registrants also received a link to the recording, a PDF summary produced by the organisers and responses to questions asked from panel clinicians Professor David Thomson and Dr. Sebastian Hendricks.


SchoolScreener for Schools has been developed for use by school support staff to identify children with vision or hearing deficits from ages 7-18. The software includes automated reporting for Inclusion, SLT and Parents, Data management is also automated. SchoolScreener for Schools is a variant of SchoolScreener Vision and Hearing, used since 2013 by non-clinical NHS staff to screen children at Reception age in over 5,000 schools.

Thomson Screening is the leading supplier of software for Vision and Hearing Screening and other School Health Needs including Health/Risk Assessments, Immunisations, Height/Weight and associated data management.

The company was founded in 2011 by City, University of London, and further develops and commercialises the work of Professor David Thomson, for 25 years head of Department at the University’s Department of Optometry and Dr. Sebastian Hendricks, Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital in Paediatric Audiovestibular Medicine.

Thomson Screening’s products address healthcare, education and workplace needs around the world with the software has managing over 3million screenings to date. Customers include the NHS in the UK, non-profit organisations in the USA and NGOs in developing countries. https://schoolscreener.com/