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First-ever curriculum for deaf people

PUBLISHED: 11:44 17 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:07 07 September 2010

Deborah Drew, Sandra David and Catherine Drew

Deborah Drew, Sandra David and Catherine Drew

Tan Parsons THE FIRST ever curriculum designed specifically for deaf children has been launched at a school in Swiss Cottage. Frank Barnes School For Deaf Children hosted a seminar last Thursday introducing the Deaf Studies Curriculum. It broadly covers t

Tan Parsons

THE FIRST ever curriculum designed specifically for deaf children has been launched at a school in Swiss Cottage.

Frank Barnes School For Deaf Children hosted a seminar last Thursday introducing the Deaf Studies Curriculum.

It broadly covers the subjects of deaf identity, communication and technology, deaf community and culture, social change and deaf history - where pupils take a look at well known deaf people and key events over the years.

Frank Barnes' deaf instructor Catherine Drew said: "It's taken us six years and everything kept changing - technology changes, and we had to. But we've finally done it and it is part of deaf history. It's very exciting."

The curriculum was developed by the London Deaf Studies working group which was set up in April 2001. A partnership was developed between Frank Barnes School, Blanche Neville School in Haringey, Oak Lodge School in south London and Elmfield School in Bristol.

Ms Drew continued: "We learn about European history, but where's our history? When deaf children leave school it's very important for them to be strong in their identity.

"The Deaf Curriculum emphasises, 'You are deaf, it's OK to be deaf and there's nothing wrong with being deaf.' It's a case of thinking about how you communicate with each other and how we do it every day in the real world.

"We are a linguistic minority. This curriculum is for the children's future - it's not about us. It's about them feeling comfortable in themselves."

There are key stages, just like the standard national curriculum, and children will be assessed on what they have learned.

A year three class would be assessed, for instance, on how well they can recognise different modes of communication and express what it is like to be deaf and how they communicate with non-signers.

The curriculum was developed by the Deaf Studies Working Group, which aims to instil pride and a strong sense of identity in deaf people in society and an understanding of the different modes of communication used by deaf people.


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