Brighton-based Hamilton Lodge were delighted to be awarded a rating of ‘outstanding’ by the Welfare Sector Inspectorate OFSTED. Hamilton Lodge is a specialist school for deaf children and has been operating from the same site since 1945.
Last year, a new provision opened within the school for children with more complex needs in response to the closure of other specialist schools. The inspectors considered the care provided to all children in the school as consistently exceeding the standards of ‘good’. The inspectors said:
“Young people make exceptional progress. Their communication, emotional wellbeing and confidence improves immensely, often following a dreadful experience in mainstream education. Young people are ready to learn.”- Ofsted 2017
The inspectors felt that the deaf role models within the staff team and the ability of children to access local deaf community groups after school was important:
“Young people overcome challenges associated with their hearing difficulty. Being deaf is no longer a barrier to them. They become proud of being part of the deaf community as well as being able to enjoy, sometimes for the first time, wider society.” Ofsted 2017
Principal, David Couch, said:
“I am incredibly proud of the care team, led by my colleague Simon Rogers, and the school team, led by Juliet Grant in achieving this outcome. Their dedication and commitment to child welfare and development fully deserves this achievement. I know that parents/ carers and local authorities will feel reassured by our continuous progress to ensure children and young people flourish as a result of the environment and expert support we provide.”
The full report can be found on our Ofsted page here.
Hamilton Lodge provides weekly residential care for pupils attending the school and college provision. There are a series of same-sex houses which have care staff teams working to support pupils with homework, accessing after school activities and learning life skills. The latest residential house to open is Hill House which is for children accessing the new provision within the school and they have more complex needs. These children were left in limbo when other schools closed and inspectors looked carefully at their progress over the year:
“Since the last inspection, the way staff have adapted to meet the needs of deaf young people with additional complex needs has been of particular note. Staff are diligent in following the carefully constructed care plans. Some young people no longer use challenging behaviours to communicate. For others, their concentration has improved and they are able to engage in their education. Young people are able to learn personal skills, such as washing or pouring a drink. Deaf young people with autism are able to ask ‘next’ or ‘what’, and their anxiety is minimised.” Ofsted, 2017
Embracing technology safely
For all children and young people, new social and mobile technology is providing new opportunities. For young people at Hamilton Lodge being able to use video calling is especially helpful in keeping in touch with their friends.
In their findings the inspectors noted good practice on cyber safety and the recognition of the benefits of new technology for deaf young people in their lives.
“All staff demonstrate a good understanding of e-safety. They are not risk averse. Young people show a thorough knowledge of how to keep themselves and others safe. They tell staff of any worries they have about other young people’s use of electronic devices. Deaf young people engage with the digital world as well as utilising all the benefits of communication applications.” Ofsted, 2017