Provision and Opportunities
The needs and abilities of individual pupils are clearly identified, through a range of assessments, in order to place them in the most appropriate learning environment within school. Some children are withdrawn from the mainstream class for maths and English to work in a smaller group. These groups are planned for by Teachers of the Deaf, with a focus on specific language and communication needs. These lessons are delivered by both teachers and specialist support staff within the ARC. Appropriate provision is made for all communication needs, including signed support where it is needed. Other children work within the mainstream class for core subjects and are supported by specialist support staff. Teachers of the Deaf liaise with mainstream staff to ensure that planning is appropriate for the needs of these children and that suitable and appropriate resources are provided. Most pupils spend some or all of their time within the mainstream class in the afternoons for Creative Curriculum. These pupils are again supported by staff from within the ARC. If it is considered appropriate, then pupils may also be withdrawn from class in the afternoon in order that the curriculum can be more closely matched to their learning needs within a smaller group.
The placement of pupils remains flexible and is regularly reviewed in order to make changes with regards to the placement and grouping of individuals where their needs may have changed.
Pupils who use BSL receive weekly sessions, both in small groups and on a 1:1 basis, with the Deaf Instructor in order to develop their signing skills. The Deaf Instructor also has a key role in supporting BSL users within the mainstream class.
All ARC pupils remain an integral part of their mainstream classes and are fully involved in wider learning through such things as visitors in school and educational visits to other places.
The ARC is committed to providing all deaf pupils with opportunities and experiences which will enhance and extend their learning and develop their social and emotional well-being in order for them to become confident, successful and well- rounded individuals.
The value and importance of role play and drama in promoting spoken language, expressive communication and confidence is recognised and actively promoted within the ARC. As such, it is an integral part of daily lessons, particularly in English.
In addition, the ARC regularly puts on performances for the school and visitors. All pupils are involved in rehearsals, in some cases assisting with the writing of scripts, and then in the final performance. The feedback we get from other pupils and staff, as well as visitors, is always fantastic. The pupils really enjoy the whole experience and their confidence and skills are clear for all to see.
We also recognise the importance of music for Deaf pupils and are lucky to have the involvement of two specialist individuals employed by an organisation called Music and the Deaf. Every Wednesday, a music teacher comes to work with pupils who are learning to play brass instruments. The pupils are taught for an hour in school and are encouraged to take their instruments home to practise. On Thursdays, Helen Mitchell comes to run a signing choir with the pupils.
T he pupils learn to sing and sign popular songs and thoroughly enjoy this. In March the choir was asked to perform at St Georges Hall as part of the School Prom. This was a fantastic experience and pupils, staff and parents who came to watch all said it was amazing! We even got into the local paper.
As a result of our involvement with Music and the Deaf, our pupils often attend workshops where they have an opportunity to extend their learning and meet other pupils from different schools.
Educational visits are seen as an important extension of the both the curriculum and the wider aspects of learning in order to provide ‘real-life’ experiences for our pupils.