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Thursday, 02 October 2014

Carlisle's Trinity School could offer help for deaf students

Trinity School in Carlisle could become the first mainstream secondary school in Cumbria to offer specialist help for children who are deaf or have impaired hearing.

Trinity School photo
Trinity School, Carlisle

Cumbria County Council this week launched a consultation into plans to offer dedicated provision for profoundly deaf children and those with severely impaired hearing at the Strand Road school.

At present the option is to send them outside the county for schooling.

Alan Mottershead, head of Trinity School, said: “There is one other hearing impaired resource provision in the county – at Bransty in Whitehaven – but this is a primary school. There is currently no secondary school.

“We have had a small number of children who are deaf or have hearing problems through the school, but this resourced provision now takes the idea forward.”

He added: “This will be very positive for the whole school, as well as providing an opportunity for these students.

“We have asked the county council to look down through the age range and they think there will be others in the greater Carlisle district who could benefit too.”

Trinity School, which is undergoing a £20m redevelopment, is situated very close to the county headquarters of DeafVision in Compton Street, a leading charity dedicated to helping the deaf and hearing impaired.

Proposals to improve provision for deaf secondary school-age children were first discussed around 18 months ago when the local authority identified a cluster of children, then aged nine and 10, who would need dedicated support.

Council bosses approached Trinity School after seeing how it had worked effectively with individual deaf pupils in the past.

In the consultation paper launched on Monday, Moira Swann, Cumbria County Council’s director for children’s services, said: “Resourced provision at schools offers the opportunity for deaf and hearing impaired pupils to be taught alongside their peers with access to additional and specialist support and staffing.

“This provides individual pupils the fullest opportunity to make progress in their learning while participating in all other activities.”

The consultation runs until Friday, July 31 after which a statutory proposal is likely to be tabled for senior county councillors to consider and reach a decision in November.

The latest plans are part of the county council’s drive to offer improved facilities in mainstream schools to help those who have additional or special educational needs.

Others include a recently-opened autism unit at Caldew School in Dalston.

To see the full consultation document or to discuss the paper, call the council’s school organisation team on 01228 226013 or visit www.cumbriacc.gov.uk/consultation.

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