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Academy newsletter Winter 2017

What’s inside? • - Our Princesshay Christmas tree • - The Santa Run 2017 • - Our visit to the House of Lords • - Student achievements • - Our bumper photo album

...and lots more!

Merry Christmas! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year - look inside to see what we’ve been doing this term...

Welcome from Arnet Dear Parents and Carers As another term draws to a close, I am reflecting on the difference that a few months can make. The Academy feels very settled and positive, there is a definite mood that things are improving, a strong feeling of community wanting to stand together and build a change for the better.

and other local organisations. Last night I watched as many of our students stood before a crowd of three thousand or more to sign Christmas carols.

In classes, students are working hard, and behaviour is positive This term we have and focused on learning. Tutors celebrated students taking are looking forward to meeting part in events that have showcased their abilities and with many of you at the end skills; a drama performance of term to discuss the progress that students are making. If shared with two other you have been unable to meet schools, Deaf Awareness with tutors on the last day sessions run for the police

of term, do please get in touch and we will make alternative arrangements to get in touch by phone or by Skype or, to arrange an alternative date for January. I wish you all a peaceful holiday - a time when you can enjoy being together with family, and best wishes for the New Year from myself and all the staff here at the Academy.

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Arnet Donkin Executive Principal

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Runner up in the Princesshay Christmas Tree festival! Each year we decorate a Christmas tree in Princesshay Shopping Centre, Exeter, along with over 30 other charities from across Devon. There are prizes for the best tree, and the display creates a wonderful Christmassy forest for shoppers to enjoy all the way down Roman Walk.

tree on the walk! Teacher Anna said:

‘We had so much fun decorating the tree with the students and staff. It really was a fantastic and memorable trip out!’ And all of the hard work paid off - we were awarded the runner up prize of a £25 Princesshay voucher for our spectacular tree, with the voucher going towards the students’ Christmas party.

In November, some of our School students armed themselves with tinsel, baubles and homemade pompoms and took a trip into town to decorate the Academy tree. We were lucky enough to be given a very tall, beautiful tree to decorate, and students quickly got to work hanging decorations off every branch soon it was the most colourful

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The charity trees are in Roman Walk, Exeter, until 5 January 2018.

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Santa Run 2017! Early in the morning on Sunday 3 December, a horde of Santas gathered in chilly Princesshay for the annual Exeter Santa Run. Team Deaf Academy were among the racing Santas. College students and Academy staff took part in the 5k fun run, whilst School student Sam raced in the 2k family run, with three generations of his family. 12 year-old Sam was joined by his 3 year-old sister Alex, his father and stepmother, and his grandparents Jane (64) and Ted (74). The whole family fundraised for the Academy, and at the time of writing they had totalled over £500! Sam’s dad Robert said;

“As a family we always want to do things together. We value spending time with each other and this was a brilliant way to have fun as well.”

“Sam has been deaf since he was 4 months old - he lost his hearing to meningitis. Since Sam joined the Academy we have seen a great improvement in him and in his academic and social life, which has given him true happiness and confidence.” “The Academy has transformed his life and the help the school gives is invaluable. This is our little way of saying thank you.”

finishing. A huge well done to everyone who took part - Sam and his family, our fantastic College students and all the staff who supported them. A big thank you as well to our wonderful volunteers who helped with race marshalling and photography, and an extra-special thanks to all who fundraised for us, including Ian from our maintenance team - we’ve raised hundreds of pounds for our charity! Our next event is the Monster Run on 17 March 2018 at Escot Park! Join our Monster Team to support Exeter Deaf Academy. Contact fundraising@ or call 01392 267019.

On the day of the run, shoppers and passers by were delighted by the throng of Santas jogging up and down Exeter High Street, and each runner was rewarded with a Santa medal and mince pie on Exeter Deaf Academy

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Santa Run photo album

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The Topsham Road Project In November Class S1 were rehearsing for PaddleBoat Theatre Company’s Topsham Road project. They performed along with three other schools on Topsham Road Isca Academy, WESC Foundation and Southbrook School. On 9 November each school performed their interpretation of the poem The Door, in a special showcase at Exeter Phoenix. With help from Paddleboat’s Artistic Director Katy, Academy students Sam, Jay and Oliver from Class S1 produced an interpretive play, showing how they each found a door and travelled through it to a forest full of animals - and met a panther! Afterwards, our students explained to the audience in BSL what they learned from the project and how they felt about performing. Sam said;

“I like acting scared - I find scary acting easy. The crocodile in my piece was scary, and so was the music!”

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The Northcott Theatre was also involved in delivering the project. Lisa Hudson, the Northcott’s Education and Outreach Officer, said;

We hope it’s going to lead to a much bigger project. It’s been a really amazing experience for everyone.” All of the performances from the four schools were incredibly thoughtful and creative, and it was fantastic to see students of all backgrounds and abilities working together and supporting each other. Well done to everyone involved.

“We realised we had four very interesting schools within a mile of each other on Topsham Road. We found a little bit of funding and spent the last six weeks working in each school. We’ve all looked at one poem, but we’ve interpreted it very differently. Issue 3 - Issue summer 1 2017


Monster families wanted! The Monster Race comes to Escot Park in Devon for the first time in 2018 We’re proud to partner with Monster Race this year. The Monster Race and kid’s Mini Monster Race is a fun obstacle course designed to get you wet and muddy., and will be the best obstacle course race and mud run event in the South West! Join the Deaf Academy Monster Team Your fundraising will help us make a real difference to the lives of deaf children and young people. As one of our Monsters you will get a fundraising pack, snazzy Academy running vest and lots of help from us to get you fundraising.

most Monsters taking part will be fun runners. If you don’t fancy running the whole way and prefer to walk between obstacles, that’s ok! Families of Monsters especially welcome

For Monster kids There’s a special kids’ course for Mini Monsters aged 4-11 years, where parents and carers can run with their child free of charge. Teenage Monsters aged 12-18 years can choose to run 5k, which is one full lap of the adult main course. For Monster adults The 10k main course is designed to be a challenge but

Parents and carers can run the kids’ course with their Mini Monsters free of charge. It’s possible for adults to run the kids’ course and take part in the main adults’ race too! All Monsters, big and little, will get their own Monster medal and goodies. Big Monsters (Adult places): Get a free guaranteed place (limited availability): Pledge to raise £150 for Exeter Deaf Academy.

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Get a discounted guaranteed place: Make a £40 donation to us and pledge to raise £50 in sponsorship. If you already have your own place in the Monster Race, we’d still love to have you in our Monster Team. Simply let us know you’re taking part and raise as much as you can. Mini Monsters (Kid’s places): Contact us today to sign up for a Mini Monster discounted place (from £8-£30 dependent on age) and raise sponsorship for Exeter Deaf Academy. We need Monster volunteers If obstacles aren’t for you, join our Monster Team as a marshal instead, to help steward and cheer our fun runners on. Please contact us for more information.

Contact us now to join the Deaf Academy Monster Team. Call 01392 267019 or email fundraising@ exeterdeafacademy. 77

We unveiled our plans for the new Academy at the House of Lords Early in November we presented our plans for our new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, at a prestigious event at the House of Lords in London. This followed East Devon District Council granting planning permission for the new Academy to be built on the former seven-acre Rolle College site, formerly owned by the University of Plymouth. This puts the building project firmly on track for construction work to commence in April 2018 ahead of our planned move in September 2019. We presented our designs along with architects Stride Treglown, on the invitation of the Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE at “The Future of Deaf Education” event, hosted by The Lord Speaker at the House of Lords. The speakers included TV presenter and journalist Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, who founded the child protection charity ‘Childline’, spoke passionately about her personal experience of deafness and the importance of specialist Deaf education in the UK. Executive Principal Arnet Donkin also presented, and he Exeter Deaf Academy

shared his aspiration for a new vibrant campus at the heart of Exmouth’s community that will transform education and care for Deaf students and their families.

Arnet said:

‘We are about to take a bold, and ambitious step into a new future for the Academy. Our architects, Stride Treglown, have worked closely with us to understand the principles of ‘Deaf Space’ and emerging technologies in Deaf education. ‘The result is a ground-breaking

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design where Deaf young people can communicate freely, have visual connectivity with their peers, teachers and carers, and strengthen their identity as Deaf people. This is an opportunity to reshape and expand the support the Academy provides for deaf children from across the UK. Our new campus provides the space and opportunity for growth and development in future years’, and will enable us to reach out and build new partnerships in the wider community’. The Deaf Academy’s guests at the House of Lords included representatives from some of the largest charitable trusts, key figures from the media including the BBC’s health correspondent Hugh Pym and individual supporters such as the owner of the Daily Express and OK Magazine Richard Desmond, whose father became suddenly deaf when he was a child. Our Director of Development Steve Morton said: ‘This is a project of national significance which has captured the imagination of many highly influential people from right across the UK. Fundraising has been, and remains, critical to deliver everything we need to do for our students. Whilst we still have significant funds to raise, we are incredibly grateful for the number of generous 8

pledges which have already been made’. Since May, we have undertaken months of extensive consultation with our students and staff to inform the key design principles for the new build. The project will include a new education building, student accommodation and the refurbishment of the existing Owen Theatre, to create a fully inclusive place for Deaf young people. support visual communication. All this underpins the Deaf Academy’s specialist work to build confidence and independence in all its students Highlights of the design include:

Our Academy in Exmouth will specialise in enabling Deaf British Sign Language users with additional needs to lead independent lives. Bringing deaf and hearing communities together is at the heart of that vision. The long-term aspiration for the new Deaf Academy is to enable Exmouth to become a role model to the rest of the UK as Britain’s first Deaf-friendly town. The designs for the new Academy incorporate aspects of Deaf Space architecture throughout the building, including the careful management of natural light, flexible layouts, intelligent acoustic treatments, wide corridors and clear sight lines to Exeter Deaf Academy

A bright naturally lit central Atrium specifically designed to provide a lively and engaging meeting, dining and learning space. A staircase will wrap around a lift from the ground floor Primary School to the upper level Secondary School and College to establish a clear learning journey for students and reinforce their progression.

using British Sign Language (BSL) and will be equipped with modern technology to inspire students to learn and prepare them for work. There are fully accessible therapy services on site including a large ground floor therapy gym, ensuring all students, including those with physical disabilities and additional needs, are able to thrive. The three storey residential accommodation houses 50 generous bedrooms that cater for a growing student population with a range of additional needs. These are clustered around shared living and kitchen spaces for students to live in ‘family’ groups and develop valuable life skills. We were very proud of our students who did a wonderful job of welcoming and speaking with all our guests at the event about what the Deaf Academy means to them.

The existing Owen Building will be refurbished and rendered in white with the theatre retained and available for wider community use. The classrooms and vocational workspaces are designed to facilitate teaching Issue 4 - winter 2017

You can see the latest pictures of our designs for the new Academy on our website newbuild


Student achievements

Aiden’s landscape photography ‘My favourite places to photograph are Exmouth because of the sea and the amazing light, Dartmoor because it’s wild with lots of sunlight there, and Newton Abbot.’

16 year old College student Aiden has found his passion in landscape photography.

To see more of Aiden’s photos search for his photography page ‘Photos by Aiden’ on Facebook. Aiden says he really enjoys taking pictures on his iPhone. He loves capturing views and trying out new angles and shots. He said;

Molly is voted Chair of student council Congratulations to School student Molly, who has been elected by her peers to lead this year’s Academy council!

any issues at the Academy. It’s important for our students to be able to share their opinions and views, and make changes where necessary.

Congratulations also go to Alex B, who was elected Vice-Chair, Tom B, who was elected Secretary, and council members Leah, Abbie, Alex L, Hayden, Matthew, Harley and Sam.

Not only does this enable them to learn important leadership and life skills in becoming active citizens, but it also provides them with a real sense of self-worth. The ability to make changes to their Academy empowers our students and reinforces their pivotal role in their education.

The Council represent the views of all our students and work together with staff to improve and action

Council activities include things like writing to our local MP asking cinemas for more subtitling in

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films; choosing what to do in Activities Week; organising and running events like Children in Need; visiting parliament with our MP; and changing the lunch menu. We’re sure Molly and her team will do a fantastic job this year!


Declan’s work experience

The Deaf Academy develops relationships with many local businesses who welcome our College students for work placements. Work experience enables them to learn about the world of work; and develop the skills, attitudes and personal qualities needed for work and adult life.

17 year old Declan is a FE Level 2 Deaf Academy student who is completing his BTEC Introduction to Vocational Studies. He has a special talent in film, and a keen interest in marketing. This term, he asked our Marketing Manager Helen if he could gain some workrelated experience with the Academy’s Marketing Team.

skills, fitting his filming and editing work around his timetable. There are lots of challenges around making sure the Academy’s marketing crosses language barriers between Deaf BSLusers, and the hearing community, but Declan has tackled this like a pro! I’m really impressed by his ideas and the hard work he’s put into this.’

Helen said; ‘Many of our students have a real flair for visual media and since much of the Academy’s marketing work is centred around storytelling through photography and video, we try to utilise our student talent pool as much as possible! Declan’s work placement has involved him working with us on a weekly basis to develop his media

Declan was tasked to create, shoot and edit a short 2 minute film in British Sign Language (BSL) for social media. Over the last month, he has attended “creative meetings” with Helen to share ideas for his film, he has sketched a storyboard to visualise the scenes, and shared his work in progress with the

marketing office. His short film is called ‘A Day in the Life of a College student’ and at the time of this newsletter going to print, Declan was working on his final edit. We look forward to sharing his film with you in the new year.

Caroline Fegan coordinates our students’ work related learning opportunities. She said; ‘Work Experience has such an impact on our students as it gives them the opportunity to develop work skills in a real workplace environment, and it’s crucial to their vocational development informing their future career pathways. I’m really proud of how Declan has worked so hard on this project and he has grown in confidence in his own abilities’. Declan said; ‘I love making films, I like being creative and practicing my editing skills. I’ve enjoyed being asked for my thoughts and ideas. This work experience has really helped my confidence’.

Chloe’s Patterns and Patches College student Chloe has been working hard on her sewing projects this term. Chloe is a talented seamstress, and makes wonderful textiles -

this term she has been working on key decoration techniques to help to develop her already good garment construction skills. This should lead toward an ABC qualification in Fashion and Textiles, which will help her develop a strong understanding of design for her own business practice. Sewing teacher Catrina said:

‘Chloe has wonderful sense of humour but also strict attention to detail and an eye for quality control. She also has a natural eye for colour, pattern and fabric choice.’ In the last few weeks printing, Exeter DeafAcademy Academy Exeter Deaf

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tucks, applique and quilting have all been part of Chloe’s focus on surface decoration. Recently Chloe completed the beautiful handmade Christmas stockings pictured. She offered to sell them to staff at the Academy and soon orders were pouring in left, right and centre. She took a day off timetable with her two ‘elves’ to mass produce these extra Christmas stockings! We look forward to seeing what her next project will be. 11 11

Building our new Outdoor Education Shelter This term, one of our projects has been building a new Outdoor Education shelter with Tanglewood Project teacher, Nick. The new shelter will replace our wigwam, and is being constructed by our staff and students.

Deconstructing the pallets was a big job, but this is now done. Nick and our year 8s spent time problem-solving together to make a ‘jig’ to enable us to make multiple hexagons of the same dimensions. This means that in the New Year we can start construction!

Back in October a batch of huge pallets were delivered to the Academy, to build a new shelter, donated very generously by shipping company Stan Robinson Ltd. The students looked at lots of different shelter designs, but opted for a ‘geodesic’ design, composed of hexagonal shapes made of pallet wood, like the picture below.

Outdoor education teacher Nick Mussell said;

‘We haven’t built anything like this before so it will be a learning curve! The young people will be learning about different shapes as we build the shelter.’ This new shelter will be a vital part of our outdoor educations sessions - every session starts inside the shelter with the students sawing and chopping wood, building and lighting the fire ready for the kettle for hot drinks and toast.

These dome-shaped structures are very strong, and able to withstand the natural elements. They also look spectacular!

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Building new paths... by Nick Mussell Thanks to Bruce from local company Western Tree Works, who kindly donated us a tipper full of woodchips. After the physical efforts and determination of students and staff from across School and College we now have paths that link the main school, the car park and Haldon classroom to the outdoor education area.

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This means we can load and unload resources and equipment safely from Marjory (Nick’s old VW truck) and carry them to and from the shelter without the fear of slipping. It has made a huge difference and makes the space look welcoming and cared-for.

Thank you to everyone who helped!

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Our photo album We take a look back on some of our highlights this term with a bumper photo album. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who have taken great photos for us this term!

Class S3 spending time with Niven the Hearing Dog

Class S1 visit to the the Roman Legion Museum in Wales

Making leaf art with Tanglewood

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FE students pop-up cafe

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Halloween 2017!

Children in Need fundraising

CJ & Elliot at Bicton College

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Building our new Outdoor Education Shelter

Redecorating College

Playing football!

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Class S1 Roman history costumes

Exeter Chiefs Deaf Awareness training

School Council’s first meeting of the academic year

RAMM Digital Art workshop

Our new axolotl, who lives in the library

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College student William kayaking on the river Dart on Dartmoor

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FE Student Travis studying Animal Care at Bicton College

This year’s Academy Council L-R: Hayden, Abbie, Matthew, Molly (chair), Thomas, Alex, Sam and Leah

Paddleboat play rehearsals

College Teacher Geoff finishing the World Powerman Duathlon in September

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Oliver making Christmas jewellery

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Exeter Carol Service at St James Park

Our fantastic Santa Run team!

College Maths class

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WOW Wednesdays art and drumming workshops

Breaktime activities!

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Classroom time

Staff member Emily after her fantastic fundraising swim in the Serpentine, where she raised over ÂŁ600 for us!

ÂŁ600 raised!

Foraging and baking with Tanglewood

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Events Diary Family Sign Language Weekend Saturday 27 - Sunday 28 January 2018 and Saturday 19 - Sunday 20 May 2018 At Exeter Deaf Academy we run Family Sign Language weekends to help families, relatives and anyone who may work with a deaf child to communicate better with them. For more information please contact Jayne Dingle: or 01392 267077 For more events please visit

Monster Race 2018 17 March 2018


Coming to Devon for the first time in 2018! Located at Escot Park close to Exeter, this will be the best obstacle course race and mud run event in the South West - with events for children, teens and adults alike. See page 7 for more details or email fundraising@

Exeter Deaf Academy Skydive Sunday 25 March, Saturday 19 May and Saturday 7 July Have you ever dreamed of doing a skydive? We’ve partnered up with Skydive Buzz to offer you the opportunity to skydive for free, and raise money for us at the same time! Our next skydiving date is 25 March. For more information head to or email

If you’d like to get in contact about any of the articles in this newsletter please email Thank you to staff and students who contribute stories and photographs Editor: Nicki, Marketing Officer | | 01392 267023 | Charity number: 1124523

Exeter Deaf Academy is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment

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Exeter Deaf Academy Newsletter Winter 2017  

What's inside? • Our Princesshay Christmas tree • The Santa Run 2017 • Our visit to the House of Lords • Student achievements • Our bumper...

Exeter Deaf Academy Newsletter Winter 2017  

What's inside? • Our Princesshay Christmas tree • The Santa Run 2017 • Our visit to the House of Lords • Student achievements • Our bumper...