Our New Academy
In 2020 we opened the doors of our new home in the vibrant seaside town of Exmouth, just a short drive or train journey from Exeter and 20 minutes from the M5.
Designed around the principles of inspiration, visual communication and inclusivity, this truly 21st Century Deaf school and college campus places the Academy at the cutting edge of Deaf education in Europe.
Inspired by US-developed DeafSpace architecture, light and colour permeate the Academy building; clear sight lines and wide corridors enable signers to communicate and acoustics are carefully managed. Meanwhile large classrooms and modern therapeutic facilities are designed to complement each other and provide state-of-the-art education for Deaf young people, whatever their additional needs might be.
Our residential accommodation is modern, well equipped and above all, provides a true home-from-home for our young people.
These buildings underpin our objectives to build confidence in our students, show them their value in the world and help them believe they can achieve anything they want to.
The new Deaf Academy is designed for sign language users. By incorporating a design which encourages visual communication and takes into account natural lighting, I believe that the Deaf Academy will be an exemplar for how public spaces can be accessible for Deaf people and as such will have a far wider impact that just on the students who use it.
The Rt Hon. The Lord Bruce of Bennachie, Special Representative, DeafKidz
At the centre of the Deaf Academy is the Atrium. The soaring ceilings and leaf-like acoustic panels provide an inspiring place where all students can come together, which underpins our specialist work around building confidence.
The space will provide clear sightlines to allow our young Deaf students to communicate, dine and learn together in the heart of our Academy. The windows throughout the Academy are designed with strategically angled frames that minimise glare and allow in lots of natural light, creating an ideal environment for visual communication and the use of British Sign Language.
Large uncluttered classrooms, bathed in controlled natural daylight, allow for specialist teaching supported by cutting-edge technology.
The room size and table design enable visually led teaching and learning in British Sign Language (BSL) with a ‘horseshoe’ formation. Classrooms have connected breakout spaces and quiet rooms to meet the unique needs of each individual child.
Our students live in a home-away-from-home. Bright and welcoming residential ‘family’ clusters share a living space designed for accessibility, with technology and domestic facilities to help develop life skills for future independence. Lifts and widened corridors provide access to all clusters for all students, irrespective of additional needs.
The needs of Deaf people are unique. The development of the design for the new Academy buildings as inclusive and “Deaf Friendly” spaces has been a fascinating process. We have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and it has been inspiring to work on a project that will improve the lives of students and enhance their learning outcomes.
Senior Associate Architect, Stride Treglown