Further plans revealed for deaf academy in Exmouth

A birds eye view of the new deaf academy planned for Exmouth.

A birds eye view of the new deaf academy planned for Exmouth. - Credit: Archant

More detailed plans for the new home of Exeter Deaf Academy at Exmouth’s former Rolle College site have been revealed.

The latest designs for the scheme, which recently received planning approval from East Devon District Council, were unveiled at an event at the House of Lords.

At the event, where speakers included Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, deaf academy executive principal Arnet Donkin spoke of aspirations for a ‘vibrant’ campus ‘at the heart of Exmouth’s community’.

Mr Donkin 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.


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“The result is a ground-breaking design where deaf young people can communicate freely, have visual connectivity with their peers, teachers and carers, and strengthen their identity as deaf people.”

The 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 supporters such as the publisher Richard Desmond, whose father became suddenly deaf when he was a child.

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Students from the deaf academy also attended the event.

The academy says that since May, it and Stride Treglown had conducted extensive consultation with students and staff to inform the key design principles for the new build.

The multi-million pound project will include a new education building, featuring ground floor primary school facilities and upper level secondary school and college areas, allowing students to literally progress upwards as they get older.

The existing Owen Building will be refurbished and rendered in white, with its theatre made available for wider community use.

There will be therapy services on site, and three-storey residential accommodation clustered around shared living and kitchen spaces so students can live in ‘family’ groups.

Construction work is expected to begin in April 2018, with the academy planning to move in September 2019.

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