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The Deaf Academy has been described as a ‘place of inspiration’ in its latest Ofsted report – which has seen it attain the highest rating in its history with the achievement of a good grade with outstanding features.

The inspection, which took place in February, graded the behaviour and attitude, personal development of students as outstanding and the overall effectiveness of the Academy, the quality of education, leadership and management and sixth form provision as good.

The new Ofsted rating shows huge progression for the Academy, which had previously been rated as requiring improvement.

In the report, Lead Inspector Leanne Thirlby, and His Majesty’s Inspector, and Ofsted Inspector Paula Marsh, said: “The Deaf Academy is a place of inspiration for the pupils who attend. Pupils have often had negative experiences of education and engagement in the world around them prior to attending. One pupil described the school as ‘paradise’. Others agree, saying they are in a place where they can communicate, feel heard and visible. Pupils value the incredibly strong relationships with adults.

“Leaders prioritise pupils’ social, emotional and mental health needs. Adults are aspirational role models, whether they are hearing or deaf members of staff. They encourage pupils towards independence and active participation in society. Staff are well-informed about what successful inclusion should be for a deaf young person. Pupils are fully accepting of the diverse needs of their peers. They are encouraged to extend this to diversity and cultural awareness in a much wider sense.”

The report goes on to state that everyone at the Academy has high expectations of behaviour to which pupils respond exceptionally well. Pupils are highly respectful of the support that staff put in place when they experience challenge. Pupils trust adults and feel safe. There is a culture of openness and sharing around concerns and worries. Pupils do not have any concerns about bullying.

Tony Alexander, Chair of Governors at the Deaf Academy, said: “This is an exceptional grading from Ofsted, of which we are very proud indeed. The achievement is a result of consistent hard work from every single member of staff at the Academy.”

Sylvan Dewing, Principal of the Deaf Academy, said: “We are delighted to achieve this grading from Ofsted. I’d like to thank every member of staff who has contributed to this achievement. Thanks also to our wonderful students, parents, carers and partners. It is a privilege to be part of the education of such remarkable young people who continue to make us proud every day.”