St John’s Catholic School for the Deaf is a school where spoken language is used across every department and where every young person communicates equally and successfully with others. St John’s is a specialist school for sensory and communication needs where skilled staff help students to develop a love of learning, and to achieve their best.
The school provides an optimum listening environment through small teaching groups and sound field technology in acoustically treated classrooms.
Barriers to learning are removed by specialist teaching staff who are qualified teachers of hearing and multi-sensory impairment as well as specialist speech and language therapists who provide 1:1 sessions and group therapy.
In the primary department children are introduced to school life in an enjoyable and positive way. Staff work together to provide a rich language environment and accelerate the development of children’s language and communication skills.
Teaching is tailored to pupils’ individual needs by specialist teachers and a broad and imaginative curriculum inspires creative and enthusiastic learners.
In the secondary department there is a high level of personalisation in the curriculum and more than sixteen different subjects can be studied at different levels, from entry level to GCSEs and their equivalent.
Different curriculum pathways are planned for individual students, and matching each young person’s learning to their needs and interests enables them to aim high and achieve their very best.
The sixth form offers students the opportunity to study a wide range of academic and vocational courses linked to two local colleges. Students have full time individual support from learning mentors who are all trained to support the learning needs of deaf people.
Linking with mainstream colleges helps students build wider friendship groups and offers new social opportunities.
Pupils come from across the country, and many board in school during the week. The residential setting is welcoming and homely, an extension of the pupils’ own family homes. Students live in small groups of between five and eight young people, and each group is cared for by a small team of residential care staff.
Pupils enjoy a wide range of activities, including sports and games, theatre trips and visits to local attractions.
Joe joined St John’s primary department aged four. His language levels were significantly below age-related expectations and he struggled to understand in larger groups and unfamiliar situations. In the early years at St John’s, he often appeared reticent and serious because of the concentration needed to listen and lip-read, and he shared very little. Becoming quickly fatigued, Joe would drift into his own world and, even withclose support, he would work very slowly and be able to sustain focus for only short periods of time.
This year, after fourteen years at St John’s, Joe has gained a place at York University to study for a degree in business management. In the Sixth Form Joe achieved 3 distinction * grades in his extended diploma – the highest possible grades, which reflect Joe’s outstanding performance. Joe is delighted to be going to university, and his parents commented:
“We are thrilled and very proud that Joe has received an offer from York University. This is testament to all the hard work and determination that Joe has put in. This journey started at St John’s primary, on through secondary, and with St John’s assistance, York College. It clearly demonstrates the quality and perseverance of the teachers at St John’s and their teaching methods. The support from the whole school is amazing.”
Sophie is in her second year in the primary department. She boards weekly, and enjoys being with older children in the family care group. She loves going to the Rainbows group in Boston Spa, the local village, and in school her favourite activity is going to the choosing room and playing with the cars. Sophie’s parents are delighted with the care and support she has received:
“We are exceptionally impressed with how all the school staff have taken specific time to analyse Sophie’s behaviour – to work out what unsettles her and makes her stressed – and to have subsequently implemented desensitisation procedures accordingly. They have gone way beyond what a mainstream school would be expected to do, and this therefore allows her the greatest possibly opportunity for learning.
As Sophie weekly boards at St John’s School, the care element of her schooling provides additional learning opportunities and the chance to learn and develop life skills alongside her deaf peers. Whilst at school Sophie partakes in horse riding through Riding for the Disabled, an activity which she particularly enjoys.
We are in no doubt whatsoever that Sophie is in the best and only place that can categorically meet her additional educational, speech and language, and behavioural needs. St John’s school not only caters for Sophie’s requirements today, but is already putting in place plans and procedures to assist her in the future.”
(*names have been changed)
Placement costs are generally funded by the local authority. If you would like more information, request a brochure or arrange a visit, please contact Mandy Dowson on 01937 842144. www.stjohns.org.uk