Bristol to close special school for the deaf?

Bristol local authority has said they are thinking about closing Elmfield School for Deaf Children and replacing it with two resource bases for deaf children within mainstream schools.

Here are my top 5 reasons for why I personally think this is nuts.

1) It will reduce choice for deaf children in Bristol and across the area, especially for those who want a bilingual approach to learning. Every deaf child is different and a range of provision is needed to meet their needs.
2) The authority has rejected the findings from an independent external review of deaf provision in Bristol which said the school should stay open.
3) The law requires the authority to show that by closing Elmfield School, it will improve things for deaf children. So far, they haven’t. So far, they haven’t even identified where one of the new resource bases is going to be!
4) The school has been graded by Ofsted as “good” and “improving”.
5) Most importantly, it will cause massive upheaval to deaf children and their parents. Deaf children deserve better.

The threatened closure will also provide the first real test of the coalition Government’s commitment to preventing the unnecessary closure of special schools. Will they intervene?

Overall, I think Bristol has some explaining to do….

PS Here’s NDCS’s official statement. The school will be campaigning actively on this and NDCS will be working to support parents on this.


9 thoughts on “Bristol to close special school for the deaf?

  1. Why close? Absurb! What happened to the idea of Least Restrictive Environment? It’s done in the states. Full accessibility for Deaf students, especially cutting edge Bilingual Education, but society fails to see to this and assimilate, and colonize the minds and souls of Deaf people. You politican folks should read books on Dr Paddy Ladd, and Harlan Lane for a quick reference to see why you all are going backwards, and hurting instead of helping out. CI’s and Oralisn, AVT, and other modes of communication is a slap in the face, and denying the Deaf opportunities to be people of Culture and Language. Talk about Ethnic Genocide, Language Genocide, should be a crime, and not go unpunished. Stop these greedy CI corporations, and AGBell, and I.C.E.D. (International Congress on Education of Deaf rampaging on us Deaf people and future Deaf from plundering on our people needlessly! You have no idea of all the damage done, and putting us all backward since the damn 1880 Milan Resolution, and the new beginning is still all a sham! ICED, and AGBell, be gone!

  2. I only wish that were true that “Least Restrictive Environment” was actually done in the states. We have Deaf schools but we are constantly watching them close down because people are not giving the schools a chance. Attendance has faltered and ironically we’re seeing a boost in college students learning ASL. It’s confusing to me, what’s the point of learning ASL when they’re restricting children and forcing them to go down the Audio/Voice path. With all the oppression going on in the USA, I wouldn’t be surprised if ASL faces the same fate that Latin did.

    • To Mary Pat Clark,

      Some Deaf Schools are florishing, and enrollment is going up now lately in the states. Maybe the shift will continue, because Bi-lingual Education is working, and the Least Restrictive Environment Concept is a valid issue. Some Deaf schools have changed titles to regular School names. I would suggest the Bristol school to no longer be called a special school for the Deaf and change it to a regular school name. It is time to treat Deaf people as regular students. It is not special education, it is really about Deaf Education. Who said, being Deaf means retarded? Stop the naysayers out there are out against Deafhood, which means they secretly want Language Genocide and Cultural Genocide. Even, Ethnocide. Its a crime, and especially hate crime, and how can you expect the Deaf to speak out? What is audism, is like racism. Being Racist, is like being Audist. Enuf said, time’s up, folks being ignorant, stop the money machine, taking advantage of Deaf Babies, the CI industries, AGBell, and I.C.E.D. being the true Audist oppressors of Deaf people worldwide. Promote Deafhood, not deafness (medical views). Do notr give up! Stop the plundering, the rampage!

  3. And Deaf studies up the road ! Time I think for the NDCS and deaf campaigners to accept the fight is lost, main-streaming is here to stay, access to mainstream was a campaign ALL deaf fought for, now they are saying please stop ? The real campaigns should be directed at mainstream and intense focus be put upon the fact the teachers there are not enough and still not trained or supported properly, it is time wasting, to waste campaign time on lost causes, which deaf schools now are. The writing is on the wall and has been for 15 years or more, that the NDCS and others refuse to read it,doesn’t alter anything, nostalgia won’t empower or educate our deaf children.

    Campaign for school support now, better still ask WHY there is still a dearth of teaching staff for deaf children ? signed awareness and deaf awareness has tended to focus on the communication but failed to address the fact you need teachers for that. Parents want deaf kids with hearing siblings, it’s a natural want, the issue is support in mainstream, not saving deaf schools. Are we to see the NDCS and other wail about deaf school closure for then next 15 years ? because by then there probably won’t BE any. Put the focus on mainstream.

    • MM, you have no manners and lacking respect by quoting that we Deaf people are wailing like cry babies.

      Parents should move and put their Deaf Child in an “all” Deaf School, if they truly love and care about their own child, but instead they are being selfish about staying wherever else, and sending them off to a school with other kids and try mainstreaming them. Programs are spread out too thin, and providing the needs of their child is inadequate. Other problem is that their children are preyed on by the audist vultures. Oralism, CI’s, AVT.. etc. They sell $$$ the idea to parents through scare tatics making them want their Deaf Child to be hearing, like the other kids which will never happen. Its an illusion. By the way, you said that us Deaf are wailing, I really think you are nothing but a lame fool, and a dysconscious audist, or an subaltern elite, that brown nose the hearing audists. You would even betray, or run around like a tattle tell to them hearing people, betraying the Deaf Community. Thank you very much! You ought to learn to mind your manners and respect the Deaf Community more, instead of saying that we are wailing. Wait until many others tell you the same as what I did, and you need to respect Deaf people who deserve nothing less, and the Deaf Children of the future.

  4. I live in the now, mainstreaming is what deaf PEOPLE campaigned for for 30 years. We know access and inclusion is NOT going to happen whilst deaf children and hearing children are kept segregated. I fully support the rights of the deaf child to get appropriate education support, the issue is there, the deaf child hasn’t got it in mainstream, but it doesn’t change the bottom line.

    Where I think campaigners for deaf children are failing, is over-emphasising the ‘benefits’ of segregated education, then using the point to justify abandoning mainstream instead of campaigning to more to get deaf children the support they are entitled to by right.

    I’ll state it again if you missed it, nostalgia is not education, and the reason deaf schools are being replaced/closed is because they became unfit for purpose in integration access and inclusion terms, and because many parents didn’t want that as a sole option. Unless most have been misreading the deaf cultural view the last 50 years, they had nothing positive to say about deaf schools in education terms, after all that is what schools are for, to EDUCATE, not to provide a social club for the deaf, it seems to have carried on the Gallaudet thing where some ‘elite’ of deaf are supporting lower results on the grounds it allows a ‘deaf community’ to prosper, deaf activism and isolationism yes it did.

    The NDCS is dedicated to inclusion too, read their remit. We saw the Derby university deaf rejecting MORE support in the classroom so the money would keep their free deaf club open, so, we know where their educational priorities were lying, we don’t want deaf children agreeing with that. Ask parents of deaf children where they want their children to go, most would opt for mainstream, but then, the deaf won’t listen to parents will they ?

    Who is putting the deaf child first ? not deaf ADULTS. The fight for deaf schools is lost, I urge campaigners to concentrate where the issues now lie, at mainstream. Far from disrespecting the deaf, this is being realistic. This is 2010 not 1950… I don’t have to tell the blog owner here the issue or where it is, as he has campaigned enough on it, but the deaf school thing is politics and dead politics at that.

  5. MM

    Who is part of the Deaf Community, it’s Deaf people, not hearing parents. 90-95 % of the parents will be hearing, and a deaf child will be born. Who decides for the child would be the parents, and what do they know. It is best to listen to the Deaf community, who went through it all. Have you asked a Deaf Parent of a Deaf Child? Am Deaf from the States, and was a day student, and went to 2 State Schools for the Deaf. Loved it! Around 80-90% of the kids were staying in the Dorms, while I was communting between home and school. I loved it, especially staying after school. Talk about Least Restrictive Environment, LRE.. Even after school activities, also sports. In mainstream programs, many Deaf aren’t involved extracurricular activities and sports. Socially as a kid among peers is cruical for social skills, other than education etc. For education, I was pretty disappointed tho, because I was a top student in my classes, and expectations were not met for my educational needs, or to my level, but for my peers. They struggle academically, is only because not all the teachers knew ASL. They knew only the other modes of commuication, such as SEE, Total Communication and so on. If oralism was in play or AVT, Cued SPeech and so on, would even be worse. It would be much more a nightmare for me and my other peers, a bad dream in other words, for any deaf child to through. We suffered enough! My favorite teachers were those who that used ASL fluently, because of the 2 way communication. Nothing can beat that! If I was to choose LRE or a mainstream program, I would choose to be in an LRE classroom. We just need better educators that specialize in BI-BI education and fluent in ASL. For your country, it would be BSL. Deaf Community knows best, not the Hearing Community. Deaf Culture is all about Linguistics, and Culture. Not Language Genocide, and Cultural Genocide. You advocate Ethnocide as well, so respect the Deaf Community and their Language, the Cultural Heritage or get lost! Hearing people, or even hearing parents do not represent the Deaf Community. They are oppressors, and audists, abusing our needs based on their selfish views, and even greed. AGBell and the International Congress of Educators for the Deaf is not God sent, but sent by the Devil himself! Deaf community dont have monetary gains but gains in the community through cultural and language. Education and the Deaf Community do have close ties, and hell with your Segregation bull crap too.

  6. Its not segregation, but allowing the Deaf Children to be in a least restrictive environment setting, ie the classroom,and much more. Able to communicate, interact, and being with other peers for social development other than education. Better yet should in ASL or BSL, etc. Community based real sign language, and whats wrong with Deaf culture. Why deny it, and being afraid of it? Too much for you, and ashamed being Deaf or around them? Being racist is hate, and so is being sn audist. Normally, CI’s and AVT, oralism will not make one a hearing person! Deafhood will allow a person to be human to the fullest, which means allowing ASL, and Deaf Culure to come into the picture! Otherwise those who object are blantantly an AUDIST!

  7. Is the school closed yet? The school must not be closed and remain open, and be a Deaf Centered run school instead. On views of Deafhood, not based on the medical views on Deafness, which is why Deaf Education was never able to exist. Medical views of Deafness experts are trampling into all of the educational needs of the England’s Deaf! Evils of oppression and Audism are all based on greed, and their selfish views on the world of Audism! Stop audism, promote Deafhood! Medical views on Deafness must go! Take this from a Deaf person who have lived a happy life being Deaf, not from an audist! All Deaf, HOH, and Hearing people should be Deaf Centered too. What business do you have being an oppressor and shove audism down the throats of your fellow human beings?

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