We will embark on a 3 part mini-series on highly regarded institutes focused on providing deaf students with a tremendous education!
The focus of part 1 will have us take a look at the first stages of education and what this offers to the deaf community.
School. Like marmite, we either seem to love it or hate it. Some aspects are good, and some not so much 😉
|You can make lifelong friends
|But you can also have negative experiences with peers
|You only do about 6 hours a day with breaks in-between
|But you have to do your homework each day!
|You get to see your friends every day
|But I can’t spend all day playing and gossiping!
|You get to learn a wide variety of subjects
|But you have to do subjects you hate and feel some of what you learn isn’t relevant
|You get to play with your friends at break/lunchtime
|But you don’t get as long as you’d like!
|You get to find people with the same interests as yourself
|But get picked on for being different in any way
|You get the weekends and holidays off
|But have to get up early on school days!
The point I’m getting at here is there are many aspects of school that kids will love and hate, but most of all, they just want to make friends and fit in.
It can be hard enough going to school for the first time, being the new kid, and being a bit different but add on top of the fact you’re deaf or hard of hearing, and it can sometimes be very difficult to fit into the daily routine.
Being part of a mainstream school, deaf children can sometimes have a major disadvantage compared to their hearing peers.
Challenges can be:
- Lack of awareness by staff
- Background noise and accessing sound at a distance
- Lack of real understanding and possibly not asking for clarification, simply nodding instead
- Not wanting to ask the teacher to repeat, leading to possibly missing out on the child’s vital development from a young age
Did You Know?
- There are roughly 35,000 deaf children in the UK
- Around 85% are taught in mainstream schools
- Deaf children are underachieving on a very significant scale across the UK. They are 43% less likely to get five GCSEs, including English and Maths, at grades A* to C, than all children (Source: www.ndcs.org.uk/document.rm?id=5235 )
Mary Hare School
Now let’s flip all those stats on their head; Introducing Mary Hare School, a school where deaf children can feel a part of a strong deaf community.
Mary Hare School is located in Newbury, Berkshire. This is very close to home for us as we, too, are based in Newbury! The other 2 instalments of our mini-series area are a further distance from us, so let’s enjoy the home comforts of Newbury for today!
The primary school allows children get to board at the school, and the support is fantastic:
– Out-of-school hours dedicated care staff are responsible for the children and their welfare. Each bedroom group, which can vary in size, is the responsibility of one keyworker. This keyworker will look after every aspect of the child’s welfare, keeping in regular contact with parents, liaising with the school nurse, talking with teachers, planning individual programmes and attending annual reviews.
– It is ensured that each child’s keyworker is around at important times of the day, especially in the early morning and at bedtime. Rotas are organised in such a way that each child is able to establish a close personal relationship with his / her keyworker.
The school offers an open invitation to visit them at the primary school, to see their teaching methods in action, meet their dedicated staff and look around their extensive buildings.
Mary Hare Primary School offers a vibrant primary curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs of hearing-impaired children. Taught within an auditory-oral philosophy, class groups normally have between 5 and 8 pupils working with a qualified Teacher of the Deaf in good acoustic conditions. Group hearing aids further support each child’s use of residual hearing. Classroom assistants work in partnership with the teachers to support the work of the children.
The high staff/pupil ratio means that adult support is readily available for pupils for follow-up work, reinforcement or an individual programme.
Don’t worry. It’s not all work and no play!
Children can participate in a range of on and off-site activities; this range is frequently revised and extended. Children are given every encouragement to attend clubs within the neighbourhood so that, over time, they can mix with confidence both at school and in the local hearing community.
The secondary school ranges from year 7 up to year 13 and is just for deaf children. A variety of subjects are taught at both GCSE and A-level, and the school has a good reputation for providing its Deaf students with the tools to excel in further education.
The communication policy is oral, meaning no sign language is used in class. However, students may use sign language outside of lessons.
The school aims to balance academic and social development, creating a happy and positive environment for each student to achieve their full potential. They aim to fully integrate all children into school and make it a positive experience.
The facilities at the secondary school are on par, if not better, than other schools. Such as:
- 20 classrooms fitted with powerful hearing aid equipment
- Indoor heated swimming pool
- 3 Audiology rooms
- Media Studies suite
- Art rooms (2 large art studios, a design studio, a photography studio and well equipped dark room, plus a pottery and textile facility)
Like with primary school, it is most common that the children board but often go home for the weekends. Being away from home at such a young age can be scary, but Mary Hare is well-equipped with caring and highly trained staff.
There’s just so much they offer we can’t possibly cram it all into 1 blog; if you want to see more about them, then search for them online, and you’ll find plenty of helpful information.
We hope you have enjoyed our blog and look forward to seeing you for the further 2 instalments.