St John’s school for the deaf is a day and boarding school for hearing impaired pupils aged 3 to 19, led by Head Teacher Ann Bradbury BA (Hons) Msc NPQH. In 2007 we became a specialist school for sensory and physical impairments.
St John’s is an oral school where pupils are taught by specialist teachers of hearing impaired children. There is great emphasis on supporting the development of pupils’ spoken language as well as reading and writing. This approach is underpinned by our commitment to the use of technology to provide children with maximum access to speech. We have a resident audiologist, we use soundfield technology, all classrooms are acoustically treated and pupils have speech therapy delivered by a team of therapists.
Some pupils have special needs in addition to deafness such as visual and physical impairments, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and ADHD. Most pupils arrive with linguistic levels significantly below their hearing peers but have the opportunity to study a wide range of GCSE and other nationally accredited courses. After post 16, students go on to university, further education or employment. The primary department uses a unique approach to reading and language development, the Maternal Reflective Method. This uses the pupils’ own conversations to develop a reading text and matches the child’s interest level with their linguistic development, providing a bridge into literacy.
In the secondary department, there are 3 curricula strands to match pupils’ needs. These lead to GCSE and Entry Level qualifications while pupils with complex needs are taught by teachers of hearing impaired children with additional qualifications. Pupils with unusual patterns of strengths and weaknesses study in a mixture of the three strands.
Other professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists work together to provide a holistic approach to meeting pupils’ needs.
Our post 16 students attend mainstream colleges supported by our own notetakers and a teacher of the deaf. Students receive additional tutorial support at school as well as continuing with speech therapy and courses in English and Maths. Support in the residential setting enables pupils to develop an individual study culture and independent living skills.
A unique part of the pastoral work of the school is our link with the National Deaf Child and Adolescent Mental Heath Service Team, a group of mental health professionals based in York, specialising in deafness. The National Deaf CAMHS team offer individual and family counselling as well as advice and training for school staff.