Deaf Support Centre (DSC)
The Support Centre opened in 1997. There are now 24 deaf students, within Years 7 to 11. There is no restriction to the number of deaf students in a year group. Formal procedures for admissions are undertaken by the local authority in consultation with the school. The deaf students are placed in main school tutor groups alongside their hearing peers. They are taught by the school's subject teachers, working in the main classes, for the majority of the time. The specialist staff provide support, working alongside teaching staff, to ensure that the needs of the deaf students are taken into account. Some of the students communicate using Sign Language and so signed communication support is provided. The school strives to promote Deaf Awareness within the school community as a whole and Deaf Awareness is included in the pastoral programme for all students.
BSL Level I & II is taught to Year 10 & 11 and 6th form students in the main school curriculum. This will be delivered by a Deaf Instructor and a Communication Support Worker. Though the deaf students work in the main classes for most of the time, some lessons take place in the Support Centre itself. The rooms are used for specialist teaching, audiology and speech and language therapy.
Life & Deaf was initially a Speech and Language Therapy project, which aimed to develop Deaf children’s self-esteem and communication in signed, spoken and written languages through the medium of poetry. Life & Deaf was launched in October 2006 to an audience of 300 people at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Greenwich University. A beautiful, interactive exhibition was held in this gallery space and was visited by many members of the public. Life & Deaf aimed to develop communication, confidence and self-esteem, all essential to good mental health. It supported the Department of Health’s vision for every child to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well being.
Following the success of Life & Deaf, Life & Deaf 2 was launched. Deaf young poets from across the UK have submitted poetry to the Life & Deaf website that showcases and celebrates their creative work.
This allows deaf children to read and share their thoughts and experiences. The Life & Deaf team worked with a film producer and Deaf students in Greenwich to create a short film sharing young people’s experiences and feelings about deafness. The film was launched at a special event at the Southbank in 2012 and has since gone on to win an international award.
Check out the project website for more information.
More detailed information relevant for families with deaf students, is available from Jo Cameron, Director of the Support Centre.