Maida Vale school’s extraordinary fundraising fortnight for Deaf Awareness
St Augustine’s C of E High School in Maida Vale has wrapped up a busy fortnight of fundraising and awareness raising in aid of the National Deaf Children’s Society, which supports the UK’s 50,000 deaf children.
The school kicked off with a busy week of fun-filled activity in support of the charity for Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May 2019). The packed week of activity included a bake sale, inspired by the National Deaf Children’s Society’s ‘Big Cake Bake’ fundraising campaign.
Among the other features of Deaf Awareness Week was an inspirational assembly delivered by special guest Dani Sive, Headteacher of the Frank Barnes School, which has an international reputation as a centre of excellence for the education of deaf children. The week also featured deaf awareness and sign language presentations for the students and a screening of the Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child.
The following week the school was paid a visit by the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Roadshow bus. The charity’s Roadshow team held a number of workshops passing on support, advice and information to some of Westminster’s over 140 deaf children and young people and their hearing friends, teachers and parents.
The Roadshow team also showcased some of the latest technology and equipment available to deaf young people to accompany key skills learnt on the day and enable deaf young people to be more independent.
The fortnight of deaf awareness activity at the school was rounded off by a final bake sale on Friday 17 May, which raised £175 for the National Deaf Children’s Society’s vital work.
All the activities were organised by teacher Sanja Semic and St Augustine’s Deaf Student Provision team, who work with the school’s deaf students.
“It has been a real thrill and enjoyment to organise a range of deaf awareness activities at St Augustine’s. They helped us to further foster our strong sense of community within the school. Our deaf students felt happy, proud and supported and that’s what really matters.
“We need to continue to motivate, encourage, inspire and empower deaf children and young people so that they can achieve their goals, be active members of society and live rich and fulfilling lives.
“I would like to thank special guest Dani Sive, our own Headteacher Eugene Moriarty, and of course the Deaf Student Provision team at St Augustine’s for helping make it all happen!”
Claire Lubbock, of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s fundraising team, said:
“I want to say a huge congratulations to the students and staff at St Augustine’s for all their hard work and inspiration in support of the National Deaf Children’s Society this Deaf Awareness Week and beyond, it was a fantastic effort.
“Not only has it raised much-needed funds for us, but it’s also helped raise deaf awareness, which is absolutely vital in ensuring that deaf children have exactly the same opportunities in life as their hearing friends. We can’t think of a greater gift.”
Deaf Awareness Week ran from 6 to 12 May 2019. This year, the National Deaf Children’s Society threw the spotlight on isolation and loneliness among deaf children. To combat this, the charity has come up with five simple steps to help hearing people communicate better with deaf children:
- Every deaf child will have a preferred method, so find out if they use speech, British Sign Language or a mixture of both.
- Speak clearly and naturally. Deaf children will try to lip-read, so speak as you normally would. Speaking slowly or too loudly makes lip-reading much more difficult.
- Make sure they can see your mouth. Covering your mouth with your hands, eating or chewing can make lip-reading very difficult. It also muffles any sound you’re making.
- Use visual cues where possible. Point to what you’re talking about, and don’t be shy about using gestures to support your communication.
- Don’t give up and never say “I’ll tell you later”. Deaf children want to be involved just like their friends, so if one method doesn’t work, don’t be scared to improvise, such as typing things on your phone or writing on pieces of paper.