City’s new centre for deaf children under construction

York’s new centre specialising in teaching primary school-aged deaf children from York, has been commissioned by City of York Council and Houlton now have construction work well under way.

Currently, some deaf children and young people living in York have to go to schools outside the city because there is no central provision in York where they can be taught and communicate together in English and British Sign Language.

Following research, City of York Council is creating a new centre which will provide deaf education for local children in a primary school setting. Hempland Primary School was identified as having the right location, school environment and ethos to host a new centre for primary school-aged deaf children, the school has agreed to host the project.

Hempland School has an excellent reputation for inclusion and understanding the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The school has included deaf children for a number of years. Staff at the school always have children at the centre of everything they do and are willing to learn new things. The school community is known to be particularly welcoming and inclusive and its environment fits well with the centre.

Houlton has been busy this summer building the additional classroom for the new Centre for Deaf Children.

The Centre for Deaf Children at Hempland will cater for a core group of deaf children who will join the school roll. They will be taught the mainstream curriculum where appropriate, with support from specialist teachers of the deaf and teaching assistants. Deaf adults will also work as specialist support staff and, on a voluntary basis, to provide deaf role models. There will be opportunities for other professionals such as audiology/speech and language therapists, to provide support within school meaning the deaf children and their families will have a single, familiar location where a variety of appointments can be held.

Cllr Jenny Brooks, Executive Member for Education, Children and Young People, said: “I’m delighted that, with Hempland Primary School, a Centre for Deaf Children will open next term. It will benefit all pupils in this inclusive school, but most especially those deaf children who would otherwise have to travel beyond the city for the special education they need, and which our excellent specialist staff can deliver at the new centre.

“Funded by the local authority, the new centre will complement the existing school and its construction schedule has been planned to minimise disruption to pupils and staff.”

The school will reopen after the summer holiday as usual, when all external construction should be complete. The centre is due to open after half term in October 2015. 

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