BDA Rallying to Save the Royal School for Deaf Children

BDA Rallying to Save the Royal School for Deaf Children
14th December 2015 James Brooke

BDA Rallying to Save the Royal School for Deaf Children

In Client News, Lifestyle pr

The British Deaf Association (BDA) is campaigning to save the Royal School for Deaf Children in Margate, Kent, after the announcement that it has been closed with immediate effect after the Trust that runs the school went into administration.

Parents were informed of the closure on Friday afternoon, after their children had returned home. From today, Monday 14th December, the children do not have a school to attend.

The school is one of a very small number that caters for deaf children and young adults; many of whom have complex additional needs such as autism or learning difficulties. The Royal School for Deaf Children met social care and health as well as educational needs of the children and many parents will be unable to work as they will now have to care for their highly vulnerable children. Six children have no home to go to over Christmas.

Dr. Terry Riley, OBE, Chair of the British Deaf Association and ex-governor of the school, said: “The BDA is saddened to hear the news of the closure of The Royal School for Deaf Children, established in 1792, which was the oldest Deaf school still operating in the UK.

“As an ex school governor, I can ascertain to the wonderful work the school and the staff gives to the children, many of whom have severe disabilities. On many occasions, it has brought tears to my eyes to see the joy on these children’s faces when they achieve something that for many of us easy – such as speaking in the Christmas panto or swimming a short few metres in the pool.

“These are children who have been marginalised by society for being ‘unteachable’. Yet, through the perseverance and dedication of the staff, parents and family, they had hopes. It is an extremely worrying situation for pupils and their families to see these hopes shattered.

“The BDA, has been and will continue to work with the John Townsend Trust which operates the school and its Directors, to discuss how we can work together with them to ensure that this vital heritage is not lost forever. Along with other organisations, such as Sign Video, and the NDCS, we have requested an urgent meeting with the Trust administrator, and the Secretary of State for Education, as time is of the essence. Importantly, we are still, even at this late stage, continuing to see if the decision is can be reversed. We cannot let such an historic part of our heritage and culture be allowed to disappear from our lives.”

BDA, a registered charity which has been a pioneer and champion of Deaf people since it was founded in 1890, is driven by two main aims: the promotion of British Sign Language (BSL) – which is a language in its own right, separate and distinct from spoken English – and the right to bi-lingual education in the United Kingdom. The organisation’s vision is one of Deaf Equality, Access and Freedom of Choice. To make a donation of £2, text BDA125 £2 to 70660.

**N.B. Parents of children at the school are available for interview. Please contact Rooster PR (details below) to set this up**


For more information, an interview with the BDA or to speak to a parent of a child attending the school, please contact:
Melissa Hobson / Jane Eggleton / Sarah Sullivan
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]

About the British Deaf Association
The British Deaf Association (BDA), a registered charity in England, Wales and Scotland, was founded in 1890. BDA is the UK’s largest Deaf-led organisation, member-elected to promote the interests of the Deaf community and BSL. Its primary goal is to achieve legal status for BSL.

BDA stands for Deaf Equality, Access and Freedom of Choice (DEAF). The BDA’s primary goal is to achieve legal status for BSL. The BDA champions the right of Deaf people to use BSL as their first or preferred language. BSL is a language in its own right, separate and distinct from the UK’s other indigenous languages. The BDA firmly believes every Deaf child has the right to access bilingual and bicultural education, acquiring both BSL and English.

Deaf people have a rich cultural history and take pride in their Deaf identity, language and heritage.

For more information on British Deaf Association, please go to

To make a donation of £2, text BDA125 £2 to 70660.

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