June 20: Teaching pupils who have mild vision and hearing difficulties

With 1 in 5 students affected by mild to moderate vision and/or hearing loss, this SecEd webinar will offer practical strategies for how teachers and schools can support the education of these children, including classroom strategies and advice for the SEND/inclusion team
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The SecEd Webinar: Teaching pupils who have mild vision & hearing difficulties.
From 4pm to 5pm on Thursday, June 20. Click here to register for free.


Mild vision and hearing problems in children are much more common than we might think and can act as a significant barrier to teaching and learning.

Vision problems: Studies suggest that 1 in 5 children have some form visual deficit with the potential to affect their educational development (Li et al, 2016) and there have been “significant increases” (Holden et al, 2016) in short-sightedness due to increasing screentime among other factors.

Hearing loss: Almost 1 in 5 children can be affected by mild hearing loss with the majority developing problems during childhood. Even minimal problems can have an impact on cognitive and auditory skills, speech and language development, and educational outcomes (Lieu et al, 2020; Moore et al, 2020).

This SecEd webinar – which is bring produced in conjunction with SchoolScreener for Schools – will offer practical strategies for how teachers and schools can support the education of these children, including classroom strategies and advice for the SEND/inclusion team. We will offer advice on spotting the signs of undiagnosed problems and tips on working with parents and carers to ensure children are supported.


Who is this webinar for?

This webinar will be relevant to professionals working in primary or secondary schools, including teachers and teaching assistants, inclusion and pastoral teams, SENCOs, and other school staff involved with teaching and learning and child welfare.

Meet our experts

  • Pete Henshaw (host) is the editor of SecEd and Headteacher Update and has specialized in education journalism for more than 20 years.
  • Professor David Thomson is the clinical lead: optometry with Thomson Screening. He has spent most of his professional life at City, University of London and in 2016 was elected a Life Fellow of the College of Optometrists for his outstanding contribution to the profession.
  • Liz Zoccolan is assistant headteacher and SENDCO at Harrogate Grammar School in North Yorkshire
  • Caroline Lang is headteacher of Longsands Community Primary School, Preston – although the webinar discussion will be based on work at Caroline’s previous school Anchorsholme Academy in Blackpool.
  • Sharon Hobin is early years phase leader at Beech Hill Community Primary School in Wigan.


This webinar will answer key questions

During the one-hour discussion, our expert panel will consider classroom advice for teaching staff, common links between vision and hearing difficulties and other learning barriers, advice for how to work with families, and guidance for SEND/Inclusion teams. Key questions for discussion include:

  • What are the common vision and hearing difficulties that teachers will encounter in the classroom?
  • What impact do these conditions have in terms of pupil learning and engagement, behaviour, and on wider issues such as mental health?
  • What are the implications for your classroom management and lesson-planning? What can teachers put in place to try and overcome these barriers to learning?
  • How can we ensure all staff consider the potential unmet needs of pupils who are displaying challenging behaviours?
  • What are the links between vision and hearing problems and other SEN or social emotional and mental health needs?
  • What are the particular challenges when identifying vision and hearing problems in pupils using English as an additional language?
  • How can schools spot the signs of vision and hearing problems and work with parents/carers to find solutions?
  • Why do schools need to take the lead in identifying vision and hearing deficits in their pupils? How can in-school screening programmes support this work?
  • We will also consider the work of case study schools (primary and secondary) to overcome these challenges, identify and support pupils, and work with families.
  • Question & answer from the audience: We will leave time for questions at the end of the webinar.


Our webinar partners

This webinar is being produced in partnership with Thomson Screening. City, University of London, founded Thomson Screening in 2011 to build on the research of Professor David Thomson and develop software applications enabling schools and non-clinical NHS staff to check children for undetected eyesight and vision problems that may be affecting their educational and social development and their healthcare.

Thomson Screening’s SchoolScreener, which is used by non-clinical NHS staff, has clocked up more than 1.2 million screenings in more than 5,000 schools. Its sister technology – SchoolScreener for Schools – can be used by school support staff at key stages 2, 3 and 4.

Visit https://schoolscreenerforschools.com/


  • Holden et al: Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050, Ophthalmology (123, 5), 2016.
  • Li, Hoffman, Ward, Cohen & Rine: Epidemioilogy of dizziness and balance problems in the United States: A population-based study, The Journal of Pediatrics, 2016.
  • Lieu, Kenna, Anne & Davidson: Hearing Loss in Children: A Review, JAMA, 2020. 
  • Moore, Zobay & Ferguson: Minimal and Mild Hearing Loss in Children: Association with Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Communication Problems, Ear Hear, 2020.