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  • info@newdeafacademy.org.uk

Meet our students: Connor

College student
“I can remember the day I arrived. I was sat in the corner texting my mum, ‘Oh my god, I don’t even know how to sign or communicate with people.’ But then something exceptional happened – I learned a second language, which of course is British Sign Language… That’s when I understood my Deaf culture and identity.”

Here at the Deaf Academy, young people from across the country – all of whom have a level of deafness – come together to learn, develop and grow in an environment rich in British Sign Language.

19-year-old Deaf Academy student Connor joined the Academy’s college as a residential student in 2016.

Instilling a sense of confidence, awareness and pride in Deaf identity is key to life here at the Academy. Deaf culture is explored and endorsed, and Deaf role models are celebrated. Our students are given a clear vision of what their future could be, and how they can go about achieving their goals.

College student
“Staff here at the Academy helped me to see the future and what it’s like to live in the future. It’s not easy - it’s very difficult - but they explain what to do and how to get yourself ready for when you leave the Deaf Academy.”

As a residential student at the Deaf Academy, Connor studied Health and Social Care at nearby Exeter College. Our residential students take part in activities and trips outside of education hours, becoming more independent as they grow and move through from school to college.

For Connor, the support he received from our both our teaching and care staff has been invaluable in helping him to decide his future.

College student
“Staff at the Deaf Academy have supported me to be independent, they supported me with my emotions - they supported me with everything really. The Deaf Academy supported me to go to Exeter College and helped make sure I was going in the right direction.”

Our Specialist Senior Student Care Officer Darren McKeown supported Connor with his interview at the University of Chester.

Darren McKeown
Specialist Senior Student Care Officer
“When we arrived at the University, Connor was so nervous. We supported him to think positively and told him that everyone always gets nervous. He was well prepared and our Communication Support Worker Jaz was there to help with interpreting. After the interview we were told the University would let Connor know if he had been accepted within 3 weeks, BUT less than 24 hours later he received an email with fantastic news – they were offering him a place! After all his hard work he had done it!”

Connor started his degree at the University of Chester in September 2018, and while he will be missed at the Deaf Academy we are incredibly proud of him for his fantastic achievement.

College student
“If I hadn’t come to the Academy I don’t think I’d be doing anything right now, because I didn’t know who I was when I came here. I couldn’t sign, which was very scary; I couldn’t communicate. Now I can sign fully and use my voice. If I didn’t come here I wouldn’t be going to University, I wouldn’t have gone to college - now I’m going to University, I’m excited about getting a degree and specialising in mental health. I can see myself helping people - I can see myself happy and loving my job.”

Meet our students...


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"Every little achievement is absolutely amazing. We are safe in the knowledge that he is being looked after and is going to have a great future."
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