In 2016, Hamilton Lodge made the decision to expand our education and care provision to ensure that deaf pupils with additional disabilities and care needs could access our education. Specialist schools who traditionally provided this had closed and we felt that it was vital that every deaf child got the best opportunity to learn and develop to their potential.
With support some pupils are able to transition to our core provision but some require a different curriculum and care package to meet their needs.
Our new specialist provision is tailored to meet the needs of those pupils. It is now fully open with a specially adapted residential house and a specialist team to ensure that these pupils have full access to a broad and balanced curriculum at Hamilton Lodge as well as a comprehensive care package.
All the pupils in the new unit will have an in-depth educational and personal care package compiled in liaison with parent/carers, education professionals and care staff:
- This will reflect the full range of individual pupil abilities and strengths and will form the basis for the future planning of appropriate targets both educational and care related.
- It will incorporate communication strategies which are of vital importance in the development of these targets and;
- Each pupil will have a detailed individualised communication profile which will have shared targets across school and care departments.
A keyworker system is in place to oversee this process and ensure regular contact with parents of pupils and students.
Our aim is to enable pupils to enjoy all aspects of the wider life of the school and to develop communication skills to support interaction with other pupils and staff. We also aim to develop all the necessary social and educational skills to enable them to be able to make appropriate 'life choices' when the transition from school is planned.
Meet the Specialist Team
Richard McKendrick – Senior Teacher
"I have spent my entire teaching career in Special Education in a wide range of school settings. I worked at Hamilton Lodge for over 12 years leaving in 2000 to be the Vice Principal of Donaldson’s College for the Deaf in Edinburgh. After that I was a Head teacher of a large special school for pupils with PMLD (Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities)."
Kate Risseeuw – Teacher
"My career in deaf education has been a varied one with posts at Ovingdean Hall School, RSDC Margate and more recently I was employed by East Sussex County Council as part of the Sensory Needs Service. I have worked with children and young people from 0 - 19 years and all degrees of deafness and ability."
Paul Bowker –Senior Care Officer
"I have been working at Hamilton Lodge for 16 years. Before this I worked in a residential home for physically and mentally challenged children. At the age of 14 I was volunteering with the Red Cross on outdoor activity holidays for children. I have worked on Summer Camps in America when I was 18. I am qualified to level 3 in BSL and I have an NVQ Level 4 in caring for children and young people. I am so happy to be working in the new unit and I am very excited to be taking this new residential house forward and making it a valued part of our overall residential provision."
Teaching in action
Our new specialist classroom and curriculum is fully accessible to different learning levels and communication skills. It is within the main body of the school and pupils attend assembly and are integrated into whole school life.
Pupils in our specialist provision are supported to play with their peers across the school at break time and our playground and grounds have lots of games and activities including table tennis, a nature garden and a play trail. We also have a floodlit astro pitch and basket-ball court which means that even in darker winter evenings our pupils can stay active.
As with all our residential provision, there is a garden and the house is designed to be a home from home. Children are encouraged to personalise their bedrooms with their own duvet covers and pictures.
Children who are residential have after school activities organised such as visits to local restaurants, the beach and local parks, sports and adventure activities like climbing walls and canoeing. We aim to give each child the greatest possible to access to a full childhood.