A Middlesbrough primary school has teamed up with the leading charity for deaf children and young people to host a roadshow bus event.
Sunnyside Academy in Coulby Newham joined forces with the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) to host the day-long event on Wednesday 30 November.
Sunnyside Academy is home to over 270 pupils between the age of three to eleven. It is a mainstream school with specialist provisions, including a base for children who are deaf.
As part of the event, the children met Ellie who is a working hearing dog for one of the NDCS roadshow officers. The pupils got the opportunity to meet Ellie during the whole school assembly on Deaf Awareness and then pupils took it in turn during the day to board the NDCS roadshow bus.
Julie Sutton, Headteacher of Sunnyside Academy, said: “The school works closely with the NDCS, but unfortunately due to Covid we have not been able to hold an NDCS Roadshow event like this for some time.
“Events like this are hugely important as it provides an opportunity to raise the profile throughout our school community of the support available for deaf children and our commitment to them.
“Deaf children in our school are valued in exactly the same way as every other child and we make sure that they have the same equal opportunities as everyone else, overcoming any social or educational barriers.”
Every pupil in the school is taught British Sign Language (BSL) in place of a modern foreign language.
The school has supported the national campaign alongside the NDCS and others to try and persuade the Government to make BSL a recognised qualification in secondary schools, just like any other additional language.
Sunnyside Academy is one of eight primary schools under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust.
Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “We are very proud of the work undertaken at Sunnyside Academy to ensure that all pupils are given an equal opportunity to get the best possible education and reach their potential.
“We have twenty five pupils at Sunnyside with varying degrees of deafness plus a number of deaf staff and parents so it is so important that language and communication skills are central to everything that the school does.”
The other seven primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool and Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome in Middlesbrough.
Amy Oakden of BBC Radio Tees visited Sunnyside Academy to find out more about the NDCS roadshow bus event. Click the link below to listen