Christmas has truly arrived at Exeter Deaf Academy with staff and students taking part in a range of fun activities to celebrate the festive season.

One of the highlights was a concert held with Exeter Big Noise Chorus at Southernhay URC Church on Thursday 3rd December. The concert was all about making the festive season more accessible and involved Deaf Academy students supporting the choir by signing Christmas songs including Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Silent Night. The audience also got to join in by learning how to sign the songs.  

Exeter Festival Chorus
also nominated The Academy as their charity partner for their annual Christmas Gala at Exeter University’s prestigious Great Hall. The show starred English jazz singer and BBC Radio 3 presenter, Claire Martin, along with Andy Williamson on piano and the foot-tapping Big Buzzard Boogie Band. After the interval, Academy fundraiser Amanda joined them on stage to give a moving talk about our Big Build Appeal and how this momentous project will open doors to the wider community.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated at these concerts which collectively fundraised £1,500 for the Deaf Academy New Build Appeal.

For the fifth year, our enterprising College students showcased their artistic skills and customer service at the Exeter Christmas Market. They ran a stall in the city centre over two days and raised £700 selling their own beautifully hand-crafted stocking fillers and decorations made from glass and natural wood. The pieces include Christmas tree decorations, candle holders, bunting and plaques.

Our Work Related Learning Coordinator, Carina Davis said:
‘Our Christmas stall is a showcase of what our talented students can do in terms of design, innovation and creativity. It is also an opportunity for them to demonstrate customer service skills, practice money handling, along with communication and social interaction with hearing people. It’s great for building team work, confidence and self-esteem when they see customers buying their work.’

The final week of term saw activities step up a gear as students stepped on stage for their Christmas performances on the final day of term. Parents and carers were spoilt by the students as they got to see not one, but two Christmas performances this year. Key Stage 3 showcased some of the work they had been doing with Paddleboat Theatre to make their play “A Little Man’s Holiday” more sensory and accessible. In the afternoon the audience were brought back into the hall to watch Primary perform their interpretation of ‘The Little Match Girl’ which left everyone with a huge smile on their face.

Festive celebrations also included a Christmas dinner in the canteen, a festive disco and games organised by the School Council, a visit to see Santa at Otter Nurseries grotto and an evening out for a meal and a walk around Exeter’s Christmas lights.

It has been an amazing year at Exeter Deaf Academy and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful supporters. Without you we wouldn’t be able to achieve so much. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you again in 2016.