Exmouth’s Deaf Academy opens its doors to students for first time
- Credit: Lily Holmes
Exmouth’s new multi-million-pound Deaf Academy has finally opened its doors to students.
The academy, which moved from its former home in Topsham Road, Exeter, had been due to open in April but work on the former Rolle College site was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Five months later than scheduled, the £10.5million facility welcomed students for the first time on Thursday (September 3).
Principal Sylvan Dewing said: ‘We are delighted to open our doors to our students.
“The new academy will be an amazing space for young deaf people to learn and develop.
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“Of course, things are a little different as we implement social distancing measures, but this is an incredible new space where our students will thrive and grow.
“This is a building which has been designed specifically for young deaf people and the staff who will be working in it.
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“It will be wholly inclusive and enable our students to live, learn and grow their independence in a safe, state-of-the-art environment.”
The new academy features a high-ceilinged atrium at its heart, corridors are wider so people can walk side by side and sign to each other, and corners of circulation routes are curved to enable students to move safely around the building.
In the classrooms, desks are placed in a horseshoe shape to enhance communication, and break-out rooms provide space where students can be taught in small groups, take time out or receive therapies, such as speech and language therapy.
The proximity to the classrooms will mean students no longer have to take prolonged periods away from their lessons to receive therapies either off site, or in other areas of the academy.
Staff at the academy worked with architects, south west-based Stride Treglown, in the development of the new academy.
Residential students will live together with care staff in ‘family’ flats.
In these new self-contained flats with a common room, students have the opportunity to grow as young people.
Much like university, students come from all over the UK to build their deaf identity, communication and independent skills that will shape the rest of their lives.