The Deaf Academy has been praised for its high standard of care, quality of education and support for its students following its most recent Ofsted inspection. 

The latest grade of Good for its Post-19 provision, following an inspection at the end of April, means that the Academy is now celebrating being recognised as Good across all areas of its provision. 

The rating further cements the Academy’s reputation as a centre of excellence for deaf education regionally and nationally and for championing the rights of deaf people.  

The Academy’s residential care provision was recently graded Good, along with its children’s home, Rolle House. Furthermore, its School and College were described as a ‘place of inspiration’ and achieved a Good grade with Outstanding features in April last year. 

The Deaf Academy in Exmouth caters for 73 young Deaf people from the age of nine years old to 25, many of whom have additional needs. Students come from across the UK and about half are residential. Most learners are profoundly deaf and use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language. The Academy recently opened its 10-bed residential and learning centre, Fearnside House, which is a few minutes walk from its main campus and is home to its Post-19 students. 

Sylvan Dewing, Principal of the Deaf Academy, said: “We are delighted that the most recent Ofsted inspection has resulted in a grade of Good for our Post-19 provision – meaning the quality and standards that we strive to achieve in all aspects of the Academy are now recognised as Good. 

“Our students are supported with life skills, career guidance, work-related activities and knowledge to help them achieve their aspirations. They receive individual therapeutic support that meets their needs and helps them be confident learners and individuals. This was all recognised in the recent Ofsted inspection, which is wonderful.  

“These achievements are testament to the hard work of our staff and the support of our Trustees, Governors, parents and carers as well as, and of course most importantly, our amazing students.” 

In a joint statement, Dame Angela Pedder, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Tony Alexander, Chair of the Board of Governors, said: “The Deaf Academy has undergone a journey of transformation over recent years. This has been enhanced by the move to our state-of-the-art facilities in Exmouth and the recent purchase and refurbishment of nearby Fearnside House, which provides a dedicated residential and learning space for our Post-19 students. 

“Everyone involved with the Academy has played a part in achieving these excellent Ofsted grades and should be very proud of their commitment to our students and this achievement.” 

The Ofsted report into the Post-19 provision praised the individual programmes and therapeutic support tailored for each student which enables them to develop ‘skills and confidence’, ‘personal development’, ‘life skills’ and a ‘sense of pride in being a deaf person’. 

Inspectors observed that students learn in a ‘supportive’, ‘welcoming’, ‘safe’, ‘calm’ and ‘inclusive’ environment which is well resourced and where BSL is ‘used well’ for communication

The Academy has developed positive partnerships with many local employers and the report affirmed that ‘leaders and managers engage well with a range of local employers to provide learners with ambitious work experience placements’. 

And inspectors recognised that students are well supported as they prepare for adulthood, for future employment, and to ‘advocate for themselves as adults’. This is achieved through their studies, ‘relevant work experience placements and work-related activities’ and through opportunities created for them to ‘explore and learn about the wider world’. 

It concludes that ‘Governors have good oversight of the quality of provision’ and praises the Deaf Academy’s leadership and staff for the ‘high aspirations and ambitions’ for their students. 

The full Ofsted report can be viewed, with BSL translation, on the Deaf Academy website here: https://thedeafacademy.ac.uk/reports/