The Deaf Academy student council are campaigning for Devon County Council to set a mandatory 20mph speed limit outside the Deaf Academy on Douglas Avenue.
You can sign the official petition here.
The Deaf Academy has been providing education and support for deaf young people in Devon since 1826. In September 2020, we relocated from Exeter to Exmouth to our new campus at the old Rolle College Site.
The Deaf Academy is an education hub for 50 students, 30 of which stay within the residential provision on campus. Students are incredibly diverse and come from all over the country, with varying needs ranging from mobility, visual and special educational needs.
Since arriving in Exmouth, we have felt very welcome and have loved working with local partners, neighbours and feel well established collectively as an active member of the community.
Student Council Campaign
We are an active and passionate student council that care about all the students in the Academy. Last term we agreed we would like to have a focused campaign to reduce the speed limit on Douglas Avenue, so it is more suitable and safer for all day and residential students.
The majority of students at the Academy have a physical impairment or special educational needs alongside their deafness. Around 20%* of these students have multi-sensory impairments (MSI). MSI effects a person’s mobility, sight, hearing and information processing. Children and young people with MSI take longer to process information and do not see or hear cars as clearly as hearing children do.
The current speed limit on the avenue was outlined before the Academy moved onto the premises and does not account for the deaf children and young people regularly using it. Unlike hearing children, deaf children cannot clearly identify cars in the distance or around corners through sound. We rely on sight and trusting the public are driving slowly in the area. Clear 20mph signs will ensure drivers are aware of our school and our students needs. It will help us feel safe in Exmouth.
“It’s important because if cars are going fast, I don’t have time to cross the road safely which can cause accidents. I have found in the past when crossing a road near my house, it can feel like cars come out of nowhere. As a Deaf person I can’t hear cars around the corner or far away so it can be difficult to judge how safe the road is. I would like to see zebra crossings and a 20-mph road limit with clear signs to make Douglas Avenue a safer environment.”
Amy, Secretary of the student council
Douglas Avenue currently has a 30mph speed limit with various blind spots and does not have any targeted highway signage, traffic calming measures or crossing points near the Academy. Due to these factors, the avenue does pose a risk to students, staff and visitors.
Assistant principal of Care, James Heaver said:
“Douglas Avenue speed limit needs to be adjusted to reflect how the avenue is utilised now. We would like to ensure our road is in conjunction with the safety standards of other roads with schools.”
We want the speed limit to be reduced from 30 mph to 20 mph near the Academy. We would also like to have zebra crossings put in place to ensure safe crossing points for all deaf children and young people regardless of their additional needs.
“We have been working with our local partners to address this issue of traffic calming on Douglas Avenue and recognise that this is a slow process. Recent support from Christine Channon came in the form of funding the school signs outside the Academy on Douglas Avenue and Salterton Road. We fully support the student council campaign and acknowledge how strongly they feel about reducing the speed limit and introducing safe crossing points on the avenue.”
Mark Stocks Assistant Principal of Inclusion and Partnerships
*The percentage of students with Multi-sensory impairments at the Deaf Academy has increased during the Academic year 2020-2021 from 16% to 20%.
This campaign is led by the Deaf Academy Student Council
For all press enquiries, please contact
Ike Green Roberts, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Student campaign updates
Local MP Simon Jupp’s support for Deaf Academy campaign:
“The students also told me about another of their campaigns. They aim to reduce the speed limit outside their school and install a zebra crossing on Douglas Avenue. Most schools have a 20mph speed limit on the road directly adjacent to the school. Given the specialist nature of the Deaf Academy, I believe it’s especially important in this case and I have given them my full support.
Cllr Christine Channon, who represents the local area on Devon County Council, is also supportive of the plans. She’s confirmed that funding has been identified for signage and the zebra crossing, and there will be a planned consultation with the community regarding reducing the speed limit. I hope local residents will agree that it would be a sensible step to keep students safe.
We should be proud to have the Deaf Academy in East Devon and I will do what I can to support their objectives and campaigns.”
On the 22nd of July, Devon County Council met to discuss the student council campaign. The council applauded the Deaf Academy student council for raising awareness on this issue and agreed to address concerns presented at the future East Devon HATOC.
It was agreed officers would carry out surveys to understand pedestrian and vehicle movements on Douglas avenue and investigate best traffic-calming measures for the area.
A report is being written on best action for traffic-calming measures. Devon Highways has ordered wigwags for outside the school. Installation date is expected to be in April 2022.
Campaign Press Clippings
TARA Announcement of their support for our campaign:
Exmouth Journal April: https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/speed-limit-campagin-from-deaf-academy-7845440