Leeds ,

New state of the art facility for deaf and hearing impaired children

Children from all over the city who are severely or profoundly deaf are now being welcomed into a new specialist facility at Moor Allerton Hall primary school.

The new provision in Moortown will be officially opened next week by specially invited guests as well as pupils who will be using the facility.

Media opportunity:

When: Wednesday 20 January at 10am

Where: Moor Allerton Hall primary school, Lidgett Lane, LS17 6QP

Members of the media are invited to attend the official opening of the new resource for deaf and hearing impaired children. There will be children, staff and guests available to be photographed/ filmed/ interviewed.

During the opening ceremony the school’s signing choir will do a singing and signing performance and the deaf and hearing impaired children will cut the ribbon and teach the guests some sign language. As part of the ceremony the guests will also view a video created by the children about why they need the provision and what it means to them.

The new provision, which can accommodate up to 14 pupils, is the only primary school resourced provision for this group of children in Leeds and has been developed through a partnership between Moor Allerton Hall primary school and Leeds City Council. At present there are six children who attend the provision who will now benefit from a purpose built classroom which provides a quiet space where the children can focus. The room is acoustically treated to optimise the hearing environment.

Most deaf and hearing impaired children are able to attend a mainstream school with support from the council’s sensory service. However a small number of severely and profoundly deaf children, particularly those who use British Sign language (BSL), require more intensive specialist support on a daily basis to help them reach their full potential.

The new provision provides specialist support and teaching on site in a mainstream school setting. The children are very much part of the whole school and go into mainstream classes for the majority of their time, but they also receive additional teaching and support depending on their needs. The specialist staff and the mainstream staff work closely together to make sure that all the children’s needs are met and the mainstream staff learn the skills needed to include them in their lessons.

The children in the provision also have daily access to specialist staff, including a teacher of the deaf who, as well as providing specialist teaching also advises staff in meeting the children’s needs. The children are also supported by a communication support worker who interprets both ways between BSL and spoken English so deaf children, their teachers and the hearing pupils can all communicate together. There are also deaf instructors, who themselves are deaf, who teach BSL and also support in the understanding of curriculum and cultural issues. Not only are the BSL classes provided for the deaf children they are also provided to hearing children in the school so that they can communicate directly with their deaf peers as well as school staff and parents.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for children and families said:

“This is a marvellous and much needed provision which gives deaf and hearing impaired children access to specialist support to help them reach their full potential.

“The purpose built extension gives the children a space dedicated to meet their specific needs whilst being based in a mainstream school so they have the chance to mix and make friends with their hearing peers. It also means they can mix with other deaf and hearing impaired children which they might not be able to do at their local school.”

Lesley McKay, head teacher at Moor Allerton Hall Primary, said:

“We are very proud that we were chosen to welcome the city's provision for children who are profoundly deaf or hearing impaired.

“It is incredibly exciting to be working in partnership with the DAHIT team as we create a new approach for working collaboratively. This benefits all of our children in the high quality of language teaching we are developing across school and the specialised resources which help all children hear more clearly in class. Our deaf children are enjoying consistent specialist teaching within mainstream classes and the rest of school have the opportunity to learn more about making friends and working alongside hearing impaired children as part of our normal routine. It is lovely to see the enthusiasm across the school community from both staff and children, to be part of this by learning and using some sign language”.