An Introduction to Knotty Ash Deaf Resource Base
Knotty Ash Primary School is home to Liverpool's only primary resourced provision for deaf children. Our Deaf Resource Base (DRB) accommodates 14 profoundly deaf children from Liverpool and neighbouring authorities.
Children are valued members of the school family and fully included in all aspects of school life. Deaf children with age-appropriate levels of language (signed or spoken) access learning within mainstream classes as well as having specialist teaching from teachers of the deaf. Most of our deaf children arrive at Knotty Ash with some level of language delay and often this is severe. Their curriculum is therefore adapted to meet individual needs. The curriculum, the mode of delivery and the teaching and learning strategies are bespoke to each individual child.
The DRB is staffed by qualified teachers of the deaf, a full-time BSL tutor and specialist support staff. We employ deaf and hearing staff and recognise the value of deaf role-models for all our children.
Social inclusion is promoted through BSL lessons for all children (Nursery to Year 6.) These are timetabled weekly and taught by a native BSL tutor. At Knotty Ash, we put inclusion at the heart of everything we do and actively celebrate the uniqueness of all our children. All assemblies, performances and events are signed in BSL (or SSE where necessary.) We hold an annual Deaf Awareness Week with visiting deaf role-models - last year including a dancer, cricketer, chef and poet.
As a 'Centre of Excellence' for inclusion, we are always happy to share our practice with other settings. We welcome visits to school and DRB. We also offer deaf awareness workshops and bespoke support.
Knotty Ash Primary School and Deaf Resource Base is a CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE for Inclusion. Here are some highlights from the assessment report (Dec 2017):
All children who attend Knotty Ash Primary School from Nursery to year 6 learn British Sign Language and for me, it was both a privilege and a pleasure to witness first-hand what a profound impact this has on the whole community.
The school has inclusion at the centre of its ethos and its vision and values are at the core of everything they do. Throughout the day, everyone who I met with showed that each day at Knotty Ash is a celebration of their children. The values of tolerance, respect, resilience and self-confidence shine through in abundance from the moment you enter the building.
The outstanding provision in the deaf resource base is fully integrated into the mainstream school. All children from nursery to year 6 have a weekly British Sign Language lesson. The way in which the hearing children support the deaf children in school was phenomenal and something that has been extremely impactful on me as an assessor.
One staff member said, ‘the children experience life here in the one building’. The school offers a truly inspiring approach to learning and the ethos embedded throughout school is almost tangible.
There is no doubt about how proud the children are of their school. Children were keen to celebrate the many positive features and it was uplifting to hear about the way they respect each other and want to go out of their way to be supportive.
A holistic approach is evident at Knotty Ash. The curriculum is stimulating and engaging, the individual needs of pupils are at the centre of everything the school does. Children talked positively about what they were ‘learning’ as opposed to what they were ‘doing’, describing lessons as ‘making them feel happy inside’ and the staff as ‘caring because they help us with all that we do and keep us calm’.
During the assessment I was able to speak to a group of parents who were unanimous in their support and praise for the school. Their comments related to how supported they feel at Knotty Ash and the ability of the school to meet the individual needs of all youngsters and the support given to them as families. They have the utmost trust for the school describing how, when things seem impossible, ‘the school will make it happen’. The parents could not have said enough about the dedication of all the staff and how they really do ‘go the extra mile’ with one staff member literally walking the school route with a family to support one of their children! It was an emotional meeting with parents, especially when I heard the negative experiences they had prior to joining Knotty Ash. The difference the school had made to their children was phenomenal and the parents were all eternally grateful to every person who helps to ensure their child can be the best they can be regardless of their need.
Parents, Carers and Guardians have total confidence in the school. The fact that they all independently said they wish the school could extend by building a high-school, so their children could remain here, speaks volumes!
All the group [of parents] described the school as ‘thinking outside the box’. Again, personal stories of support were recounted in particular the way the school ensures effective communication, especially for profoundly deaf parents was exemplary.
The school’s expertise in deaf education allows the school to be a central resource for visitors from Liverpool and neighbouring authorities. BSL lessons have started being offered to parents and families and some members of the local community.
The Headteacher actively seeks opportunities to promote the fantastic work of the school in deaf education and was recently invited to address the British Association of Audio Vestibular Physicians at their London conference in October.
The school promotes a greater understanding of difference and diversity through a variety of mechanisms including their community and diversity teams which include staff and pupils.
The children in the deaf resource base take part in disability sports events organized by Greenbank sports college who selected Knotty Ash for their primary school of the Year award in July 2017. The children are extremely proud of this recognition.
From the warm welcome that greets you, to the care and attention given to all who work, learn, visit the school, Knotty Ash Primary positively breathes inclusion. The school offers many opportunities for children and their families to feel included, and the school believes that everyone has the right to enjoy the best of what Knotty Ash Primary School can offer.