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Academy newsletter Spring 2019

Our New Academy Ground has been broken at our new site in Exmouth!

What’s inside?

• PSHE Day - exploring British values • What is LEGO® therapy? • The Greatest Dancer’s Chris Fonseca • World Book Day 2019 • Supported internships

...and lots more

Welcome! Dear Parents & Carers,

Welcome to our spring newsletter! It has been another incredibly busy term at the Academy. There has been so much happening with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new build, the visit of Ofsted and more importantly all the experiences and achievements from the students. The school football team competed really well in the Derby Deaf football tournament last month, and were unlucky not to reach the final. The students and staff enjoyed the chance to meet

Chris Fonseca, who starred in the BBC’s ‘The Greatest Dancer’, and participate in the workshop that he held at the Academy. We have also had a PSHE day on British Values, a World Book day celebration where Mr Bump and Willy Wonka made guest appearances, and some of our students have been taking mock

exams to prepare them for the summer term. I hope you all have a lovely restful Easter Holiday and enjoy the eggs! In just over a year it will be the big move to our wonderful new Academy which we are all looking forward to. With best wishes, Mark Stocks Assistant Principal

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‘A significant step forward in fighting isolation faced by Deaf children’

Construction of our new Deaf Academy has begun at the old Rolle College site in Exmouth At the beginning of March we marked the official start of the construction of our permanent new home on the former Rolle College site in Exmouth. Past and present students were at the centre of a ground-breaking ceremony which celebrated a momentous day in our 193 year history.

Language tutor, Nikki James, with college students, Lily, Hugh, and Winston, broke the ground before handing the spade over to CEO and Chairman of Midas Group Ltd, Steve Hindley CBE DL, to symbolically entrust the build of our new Academy to Midas, the construction company building our new home.

Former Deaf Academy student and current Academy British Sign

“I was brought up deaf and attended an oral school. My first exposure to British Sign Language was aged 14. I look back on my time as a student at Exeter Deaf Academy and realise how being part of a deaf community, and the specialist education I got, helped me with my confidence and opened my eyes to a world of opportunity.”

Nikki said,

Nikki continued, “Growing up, many deaf children often face barriers and access issues in their daily life which cause them to feel isolated. Imagine the feeling of isolation when you can’t find a way to communicate with anyone. Exeter Deaf Academy

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Not even your parents. You can’t understand and you’re not understood. For many deaf children this is still an everyday reality. “This building is a significant step forward in fighting isolation in deaf children and will bring deaf and hearing communities together. We will be taking Exeter Deaf Academy’s rich heritage with us to build upon in Exmouth. It’s an exciting future for a connected Deaf and hearing community. Generations of deaf young people will achieve great things on the ground we stand on today”. Deaf Academy Director of Development, Steve Morton said,

“For two years we have worked in close collaboration with Plymouth-based architects Stride Treglown to apply cutting edge deaf space design principles to our world-class facility. This building project has been developed in consultation with deaf people to deliver the very best in education and care.” Since launching the £250,000 fundraising appeal last year, we 3

have forged close links with the Exmouth community and have been overwhelmed with the level of support received from Exmouth residents and businesses. CEO and Chairman of Midas Group Ltd, Steve Hindley CBE DL said,

“It is a source of immense pride for us at Midas to be involved with this incredible build and to be creating such a bespoke, vibrant and inspiring place for deaf people to live and learn. It is a privilege to join with students of the Academy, past and present, to celebrate the start of their new Academy that

the whole community will be proud of. It will truly benefit deaf people in Devon and across the country.” On the day, the BBC Spotlight team came to film a piece about the new Academy, which was broadcast on the news that evening. Nikki James and others were interviewed, and our in-house interpreter Vanessa who supported on the day also kindly provided British Sign Language interpretation for the broadcast piece. This was important to us and the BBC team, as our students have been campaigning for better accessibility to news stories for Deaf people.

After the groundbreaking ceremony our students visited our charity partner, Krispies, recently voted the best fish and chip shop in the UK, for a delicious lunchtime treat. Turn to page 13 to read more about Krispies support for our New Build fundraising campaign. Peter Burroughs, Exeter Deaf Academy Chairman of the Trustees summed up by saying,

“We have just over one year to go until we open the doors of this unique facility and, as a charity, a special thanks must go to everyone who is fundraising for us. Without your help we would not be able deliver what these inspiring young people need us to.”

If you would like to find out more about supporting our fundraising efforts, turn to page 12 for an introduction to our appeal, and ideas about how you can get involved.

Exeter Deaf Academy

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Exeter Deaf Academy

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PSHE Day - British Values This term for PSHE Day we explored British values - thinking about what it means to be British, identity, and our place in society. PSHE days are whole-school days involving all of our students and staff; each day is based around a specific theme related to Personal, Social and Health Education. This term we looked at our personal identities, what it means to be British, stereotypes, extremism, and online safety, through workshops, art, group discussions, role play, and presentations. We were also visited by two police officers for a special assembly. At lunchtime staff and students enjoyed scones with cream and jam and

Exeter Deaf Academy

other classic British treats! Our students were amazing - interested, engaged and curious, and they learned so much. We’re already looking forward to our next PSHE day in May.

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A special mention goes to college student Aiden, who was our Academy photographer on the day, and captured some fantastic photographs of everyone. Thank you Aiden!


World Book Day We had a fantastic World Book Day on 7 March! World Book Day is a registered charity on a mission to give every child and young person a book of their own. It’s also a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. The day is marked in over 100 countries all over the world. Our students and staff dressed up as different literary characters to celebrate our favourite books - from Mr Bump, to Alice in Wonderland, to James Bond. Have a look through the photos to see all the creativity and imagination involved! We were also lucky enough to receive a donation of £100 from housebuilding company Taylor Wimpey, to spend on new books for our libary. Our CoPrincipal Trudy said: ‘We would like to say a big thank you to Taylor Wimpey on behalf of everyone at our school. Books are a great way to fire up children’s imaginations and to teach them about the world around them, so to have the opportunity to buy some new books is just fantastic.’ Exeter Deaf Academy

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A dance workshop from Chris Fonseca Chris Fonseca found fame on BBC Two’s The Greatest Dancer, where he stunned judges with his incredible moves and described how music inspires him despite his deafness. Now he shares his love of dance with other Deaf young people around the country... In February Chris visited us to give a dance workshop to our students and explore dance and movement. On The Greatest Dancer Chris explained to the show’s judges Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison and Cheryl Cole how he feels music through vibrations, and how this then inspires him to choreograph his dance moves.

“Dance is a universal language. Dance is not an option. It’s who I am.” Chris wanted to share this passion with our students; he started his workshop with a warm-up session to make sure everyone was feeling ready, and then began by walking us Exeter Deaf Academy

all through the steps in short, easy-to-follow stages. Staff, students and visitors from Exeter College all took part. Once the music started playing the steps quickly sped up and we all had fun trying to remember the choreography and stay in time on the beat. Chris was a great teacher; he was very patient and enjoyed himself just as much as the students did. He signed helpful tips and reminders to the class, and was full of encouragement.

Vanessa for voicing over Chris’s lesson. You can watch Chris’s orignial audition for the Greatest Dancer on YouTube at

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LEGO® Therapy Rachel, our Speech and Language Therapist, runs weekly LEGO® therapy sessions with some of our school students. LEGO®-Based Therapy is a social skills programme for young people with autism spectrum disorders and related social communication difficulties. The approach was developed by Dr. Dan LeGoff, a Clinical Neuropsychologist from Philadelphia, USA. In LEGO®-based therapy the children build LEGO models in groups of 2 or 3, with adult help. One child finds the bricks (the ‘supplier’), another has the instructions (the ‘architect’) and a third child puts the model together (the ‘builder’). Rachel, a trained LEGO®-based therapy practitioner, said: “The aim of the group is to Exeter Deaf Academy

support students’ social skills, ability to take turns, gain attention, negotiate and fix disagreements themselves. Within this we are also working on developing their understanding of BSL (understanding instructions given to them) and their ability to form instructions clearly (expressive skills) so that their peers understand what they are asking for or explaining. This is also a great task to support Theory of Mind development (understanding that someone’s thoughts and feelings are different from my own). If a student just requests a red brick the other student will not know which kind of red brick, big, small, thin, tall, etc. This supports them to realise the information their peers need to understand which piece to select. For some students this is quite difficult so we can therefore encourage

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them to point at the picture of the piece they need and build up to them using signs to do this. LEGO is highly motivating for students of all ages and is a great tool to use in therapy.” Our students are currently building a dragon, which will go along with the fantasy castle they have already made. The goal is to incorporate both pieces into a stop-motion animation once they are made!


A trip to the Apple store This term we returned to the Apple store to learn about programming and image editing. Last year we were invited to the store for workshops on video storytelling and coding. Interpreting company Love Language also returned to provide interpreting support. Both school and college students attended, and could choose whether to program a Sphero robot on an iPad, or learn how to use their iPhone to change and edit photos.

Congratulations Mary Pugsley MBE!

Exeter Deaf Academy

The Sphero robots were fun to play around with. They are small spherical, high-tech robots which are designed to encourage interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) through play. It was also really interesting to learn about photo editing, and discover all the different techniques and creative ideas which can be used to really enhance the photos we take on our mobile phones. We hope to return to the Apple store again to learn even more! The team there have stated that

they intend to run accessible, BSL supported workshops each month. A big thank you to Love Language and Emily Quigley for facilitating communication between Apple staff and our students.

The lovely Mary Pugsley of Hair@TheAcademy headed to Buckingham Palace on 29 March to receive her MBE.

have a 96% pass rate for students going on to further education, part-time or full-time work or becoming self-employed.

Hair@TheAcademy was set up here at the Deaf Academy in 2014 to support vulnerable young people and adults not in education, employment or training, to get qualifications in health & beauty, hairdressing and barbering. Mary and her team have since helped hundreds of young people, and

Mary said: ‘I feel very humble to have received an MBE, and still can’t quite believe it. At first when I received the letter from the Cabinet Office, I thought it was a joke until I saw I had to respond to St James’ Palace!’

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A massive well done Mary, you deserve it! 10

On Tuesday 6 February some of our School students travelled to Derby for the annual Deaf Schools Football Tournament! Our team had a 6am start followed by a 5.5-hour drive to Derby. The traffic and weather was kind to us and the students enjoyed chatting and playing on their phones during the journey. The Academy had one team in the boy’s football tournament this year: Mathew, Tom, Oliver, Jay and Milan. Learning Leader Rachelle who accompanied the students said: ‘On arriving the organisers kindly agreed to our boys mixed age team playing up in the senior’s tournament. For Oliver, Jay and Milan this meant they would be playing against Year 10s and 11s. This was their first Derby Football tournament they took it within their stride and stood up to the challenge!

Exeter Deaf Academy

They all played well as a team, the competition in the seniors was strong but they never gave up, just kept working hard and playing for every ball.’ The team played well, but were knocked out, conceding a goal with the last kick of that game. Two of our girls also attended this year; MK and Nissi, with this year being MK’s first ever tournament. The organisers arranged for them to join other girls’ teams that were short of players. Rachelle said: ‘Nissi joined the Royal School Deaf Derby (RSDD) but as the senior team had 5 players Nissi had to play with the Junior team. She was a little disappointed with this at the start but really shone through as a role model for the younger girls and brought some great maturity to the team, stepping confidently into the captain role and playing a forward position.’

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Game Rep orts

Deaf Schools’ Football Tournament

Girls Grou p drew stages: W on 1, 3, Los t Acad emy g 4 o Nissi 1, MK al scorers : 4 Boys Grou p drew stage: Wo n 3, 1 and Acad emy g lost 3. o Math ew 5, al scorers: Tom 1

‘MK joined a mixed Senior team with players from Heathlands and Braidwood. After her initial nerves (as this was her first football tournament!) she stepped up and really gave her all. She not only played well but also gathered the team together for some inspirational team chats and organised players in their chosen positions, while playing a forward position herself.’ ‘The football tournament is a great place to enjoy sports and support each other through the highs and lows, grow in confidence and develop team skills. It also gives the students time to make new friends or catch up with old friends.’


New Deaf Academy Appeal update A £250,000 fundraising appeal to help build our new world-class Academy... We are delighted that building work has begun on our new world-class Academy in Exmouth. We are really excited about difference it will make to the students, offering improved education and residential space and inspiring design, supporting the confidence and mental wellbeing of our young people. Our £250,000 fundraising appeal has been launched to help raise the final monies needed to make our New Academy dreams a reality and we need your help... Whether you can take on the challenge of some personal fundraising, nominate us at your local school, where you work or your local sports club – every penny raised will help. Ideas include: • Holding a Cake & a Cuppa event at your work • Asking your local football or sports club to host a charity match • Taking on a personal challenge such as a run, walk or cycle • Seeing if your local school will do a dress down day • Signing up to our weekly lottery – you could even win £25,000! • Asking friends and family with children to buy them some Easter smarties and challenge the kids to fill them with 20 pence pieces – each one will hold £12 • Ordering a card collection box from us and leaving it in your hallway for your spare change – or taking one into work to use as a fines/swear box! However you feel able to help, our friendly fundraising team will support you all the way. Together we can make a difference. Visit for more information, or contact us on 01392 267019 Exeter Deaf Academy

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Meet our fundraising friends

We have had so much support from the Exmouth community and from the wider Devon community as well. Here are just some of the organisations and charity partners we have been working with.

Krispies Exmouth The lovely team at Krispies Fish and Chips in Exmouth have been tirelessly promoting our New Academy Appeal. Recently they held a ‘£3.50 fish and chip day’ - not a bad deal considering they’ve been voted the best chippy in the country! In total they raised an incredible £4,178.97 on the day!

World of Country Life World of Country Life at Sandy Bay are another of our charity partners. Pop up to visit them this summer and you’ll find a BSL fingerspelling trail around the park, raising awareness of our campaign. World of Country Life have also provided extremely valuable work experience placements to our students (like Ann, pictured) who are studying Animal Care.

CAffè Nero The fantastic teams at Caffè Nero stores across the South West have pledged to raise £10,000 for our appeal. Currently each store has taken on a cycle challenge, and are competing to see who can pedal the most miles in a week on a stationary bike - even their customers have been taking part (as you can see in this photo from the Falmouth store). They are also raising money with challenges like ‘guess how many marshmallows’!

Spoken Bar Spoken Bar in The Strand, Exmouth have supported our fundraising efforts, with owner George taking part in our Santa Sizzle Firewalk. They have also generously pledged to donate collections on the gate of their Manor Fest events in Exmouth this summer to our appeal.

Wilkinson Grant Exeter estate agents Wilkinson Grant have pledged to raise £10,000 for our appeal this year. They have taken part in our Christmas Jumper Day and are currently organising an exciting online charity auction!

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Growing support for our New Build Appeal A milestone event in the 194 year history of our Academy took place at Bicton Arena on 28 March. The event, hosted by The Hon. Charles Fane Trefusis, son of Lord Clinton, marked twelve months until the Academy’s new campus opens on the former Rolle College site in Exmouth. Guests had the opportunity to learn more about the new word class Academy and our plans to create Britain’s first Deaf-friendly town in Exmouth. They also heard from our Trustee Jenny Sealey MBE, artistic director of the Graeae Theatre Company, who spoke passionately about her experiences of growing up as a Deaf child, the isolation so many Deaf children face in education and the many lives which will be transformed at the new Academy. Jenny went on to interview two Academy students, Alex and Nissi, who told their stories to our guests and shared their hopes for the future. Alex said:

‘Here at the Academy I have built my independence and learned so much. Before I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future, now I know that I want to teach football when I’m older.’ The event was also a chance to thank all the charitable trusts, companies, schools and individuals who are generously supporting our fundraising campaign. With a year to go, we still need to raise £250,000 to fully kit out the new facility. Steve Morton, our Director of Development, was delighted with the new offers of support which have emerged from the evening. Steve said, ‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the commitment of the people of Exmouth, Exeter and across the county to changing young Deaf lives. We will be starting a revolution in Deaf education in Exmouth and it will be the people of Devon who will raise the money to get us over the line.’

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Wow Wednesdays... Wow Wednesdays give our students the opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities of their choice, from taekwondo to arts and crafts - and lots more in between! Here are just some of the activities we’ve enjoyed this term... Arts and crafts with tutor Bex

Taekwondo with Learning Leader Fran

Drama with Paddleboat

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Supported Internships In 2018 we became the first Deaf education provision to offer Supported Internships, a program which helps to prepare our Post-16 students for working life and facilitates their progression to paid employment. Students like Declan, pictured below, bring a huge range of benefits to an employer, and Supported Internships allow both employers and students to explore the world of work from a Deaf perspective. Declan is 18, and has been working for a major supermarket chain on a weekly basis for ten consecutive months. He spends 3 days a week in-store, sharing his time on the shop floor at two busy supermarket branches in Exeter city. His work includes stock replenishment and customer care, learning the day-to-day skills needed in a retail environment. He also attends education at Exeter Deaf Academy, studying

Exeter Deaf Academy

Maths, English, British Sign Language and Independent Living Skills. Declan says: ‘I was nervous about starting my placement, but now I really enjoy it. The staff have been really welcoming and friendly. I have been teaching them a few signs, which they are now using when they talk to me. The Managers in both branches are very helpful and are relaxed in conversations with me. They have helped me to learn each new part of the roles I have been given and that has helped to boost my confidence. I am enjoying working on the tills and this is helping me learn more about money management and handling cash within the work setting.’

helpful Declan is, and how hard he works. His store manager said: ‘Declan is willing to get stuck in, and has gained the admiration of his peers very quickly. It’s as if he has been here for years!’ Declan has an assigned job coach at Exeter Deaf Academy who supports him in the workplace with job skills and communication. Declan’s first language is British Sign Language (BSL), and his Supported Internship placement allows him to explore his use of BSL in the wider hearing community. As well as communicating with hearing people, he explores his Deaf identity in both the hearing and Deaf world.

The supermarket has also benefitted from Declan’s time with them. Declan’s colleagues have commented how polite and Issue 8 - spring 2019


Declan’s mum Sharon is really impressed with his progress on his Supported Internship. She said:

•The young person transitioning to paid employment in their current role

‘When Declan began his Internship he was very nervous and lacking in confidence. After a short period of time I noticed a change in him, as he began to excel in a new found confidence. Declan is taking great pride in his achievements and is really enjoying being a member of staff. He is also successfully using his communication skills when working with customers and is focused on providing excellent customer service at both stores. He loves his work, he takes pride in it and is excited about the future.’

•The young person is offered paid employment in a similar role with a different company

Deaf Academy staff support our students when considering their next steps at the end of their Supported Internship work placement. Possible transitions at the end of the placement include:

help to enrich the culture of an entire organisation, as employees are challenged to explore new perspectives and work on their communication and cooperation skills. We find that our deaf young people tend to be extremely adaptable, with a talent for bridging communication and cultural gaps, and strong problem solving skills’.

•The young person is offered paid employment in the same role and company but within their home town area

Declan is excited about his future; he says:

•The young person might benefit from another year of Supported Internship and employability qualifications. Supported Internships are a reciprocal way for employers to increase the diversity of their workplace, and for young deaf people workers to gain real life experience in the world of work. Exeter Deaf Academy’s Work-Related Learning Coordinator, Emma Bird said: ‘Welcoming a Deaf colleague into the workplace can

‘In the future I would like to stay working within a retail setting. I feel really proud of myself, as I have been working very hard and I am really enjoying being part of a team.’

If you would like to find out more about supported internships, visit our website: college/supported-internships

Our new school uniform!

Just a reminder to parents and carers that after the Easter Holidays all school students - except for Year 11 - should be wearing the new uniform.

The new uniform has been chosen in consultation with our Student Council, who are very proud of it. It consists of a tartan skirt or grey trousers, blazer, jumper and tie. It can be purchased from Thomas Moore, Fore Street, Exeter (or online at Students should also wear sensible black shoes, not trainers. Year 11 and College students are required to dress professionally e.g. shirt/ tie/ trousers or skirt/ blazers or jackets. Please contact Reception if you have any queries. We look forward to seeing all of our young people looking smart and full of pride in new uniforms after Easter. Exeter Deaf Academy

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Family Sign Language weekend

Particpants learned basic signs, fingerspelling, useful phrases and Deaf Awareness with Nikki. Our younger attendees took part in a separate workshop with Sarah where they played games, enjoyed crafts, and learned how to sign their favourite animals.

On 12 & 13 January BSL Instructor Nikki and Occupational Therapist/ Registered Sign Language Interpreter Sarah hosted our first Family Sign Language Weekend of the year!

Our weekends are free to friends and all family members of a Deaf child, as well as professionals who may work with Deaf children. They are paid for through fundraising and follow the National Deaf Children’s Society accredited Family Sign Language workshop.

The weekend was fun, interactive and open to all ages. Thank you to Interpreters Lulu and Vanessa for providing interpretation for the event. We are now taking bookings for our May 2019 Family Sign Language Weekend, and we would love to welcome some of our parents and carers. Turn to the back page for more details.


We take a look back on some of our highlights this term - thank you to all the staff and volunteers who keep contributing fantastic photos. Your pictures help bring our news stories from school, college and care to life! Deaf Get Active boxing class

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Students’ WOW Wednesday artwork

College students with tutors Jo and Matt

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Lunchtime is important for socialising and spending time with friends

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Be social with us!

Visit our social media channels below to keep up to date with everything that’s going on at the Deaf Academy, including regular updates on our New Deaf Academy Appeal.




Exeter Deaf Academy exeterdeafacademy


And finally...

Wishing you all a very happy Easter. We look forward to welcoming everyone back for the summer term! Exeter Deaf Academy

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Dates for your calendar Family Sign Language Weekend 18-19 May 2019, Exeter Deaf Academy These weekend sessions are fantastic for families, friends and professionals to learn basic sign language, get tips and build their signing vocabulary to help support a Deaf child’s development within the home. Our qualified and experienced Deaf Academy staff deliver the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) accredited Family Sign Language workshop in an inclusive and friendly environment, split over two days. Lunch is included and there is also accommodation available for families travelling from far away. To book your place email

Exmouth Triathlon 19 May 2019, Exmouth Leisure Centre Exmouth Triathlon (Junior & Senior) is for all ages from 8+, with both sprint distance and Go Tri beginners distances. Raise money for our New Deaf Academy while challenging yourself with a swim, bike and run! Sign up at exmouth-triathlon and then email to join our team. Find more events at

Skydive with SkydiveBuzz 19 May, 29 June, 14 September 2019 eventlist

Take part in one of the UK’s highest tandem skydives! You’ll experience an exhilarating freefall from 15,000ft, combined with the peace and tranquility once your canopy opens and you float to the ground. Raise over £395 for the New Deaf Academy Appeal and skydive for free. Sign up at If you’d like to get in contact about any of the articles in this newsletter please email Editor: Nicki, Marketing Officer Thank you to all staff and students who contributed stories and photographs | | 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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Profile for Exeter Deaf Academy

Exeter Deaf Academy Spring 2019 Newsletter  

Exeter Deaf Academy Spring 2019 Newsletter