Deaf Education

Welcome to Deaf Education

The Department of Deaf Education is situated on the first floor of Wing A of Calderside Academy.

It is staffed by four qualified Teachers of the Deaf:

  • Mrs K Steele (FH - Support for Learning and Deaf Education)
  • Mrs E Quinn
  • Ms M F Dolan
  • Mrs A Ross
  • Mrs L Hay

Our aim is to develop the skills, interests and abilities of our Deaf learners to enable them achieve their full potential. In order for this to happen pupils are supported in mainstream classes by teachers of the Deaf. Pupils also have tutorial time, tailored to their needs, in the Deaf Education Base classroom. This type of support gives them the best opportunity to take full advantage of the widest range of educational experiences on offer within Calderside Academy. 

The department is also involved in the wider school, delivering Deaf Awareness training and basic sign language classes to both staff and pupils.


The Department of Deaf Education was established in August 1993 on the recommendation of HMIE in order that Deaf learners should access the same secondary curriculum as hearing pupils.

In the last 25 years, Deaf students have been successfully supported through courses which have included: Standard Grade, Higher, Advanced Higher and, more recently, CfE National 4 and National 5.

On leaving school these students have moved on to a variety of positive destinations including employment and Further and Higher Education.

The Department of Deaf Education is staffed by 5.6 FTE teachers.  All have undertaken further study to obtain the Teacher of the Deaf qualification and have, in their own time, attended courses to gain qualifications in British Sign Language (BSL).  These extra qualifications ensure that we can fully support all Deaf learners, in particular those whose first language is BSL.

As well as supporting Deaf learners within mainstream classes, the teachers of the Deaf in Calderside Academy have many other duties.

Some of these are listed below:

  • Providing special access to assessments where necessary
  • Interventions and implementing strategies to meet identified needs
  • Providing information about educational provision
  • Direct teaching through an enriched language input
  • Pre-tutoring
  • Post-tutoring
  • Subject specialism
  • Participation in multi-agency assessments to identify the needs and progress of Deaf learners

Supporting Deaf learners within a mainstream class involves multi-tasking for the teacher for the Deaf. Depending on the communication preference of the student, the teacher will note-take or interpret the spoken elements of the lesson. Being a teacher, she/he will be familiar with the aims of a lesson and able to identify where the student is struggling with new concepts or to understand unfamiliar vocabulary.  These difficulties will be addressed during tutorial periods in the Deaf Education Base classroom.

“Base time” within Calderside Academy is the time Deaf learners are taught 1:1 or in small groups with a teacher for the Deaf.  The time is spent pre and post tutoring students in the subjects they study in the wider school.  This time is invaluable to the students.  There is consolidation of the work done in mainstream classes and it allows them to work at their own pace through concepts or language with which they are experiencing difficulties. 

Deaf Awareness

Within Calderside Academy the Department of Deaf Education works to raise awareness of deafness and issues arising from being Deaf.  

We do this in several ways:

  • Deaf Awareness sessions are delivered to S1 classes in their first term 
  • Lunchtime sign language classes for mainstream staff and pupils
  • PT Deaf Education meets with staff to raise Deaf Awareness and to explore the impact Deafness can have on a pupil’s learning
  • Deaf adult role model delivering BSL tuition to Personal and Social Education classes 
  • Deaf Awareness sessions with P7 pupils in the Calderside Learning Community

Tips for aiding communication with a Deaf person

  • Get the attention of the Deaf person before you start speaking – wave, lightly knock on table, gently tap their shoulder
  • Avoid having your back to the window – this creates a shadow making lipreading or seeing signs difficult for Deaf people.
  • Speak clearly and naturally
  • If possible, use visual clues – point to what you are talking about
  • If you are having difficulty being understood, write a brief message

Remember – every Deaf person is different.  Deafness can range from mild to profound. Some Deaf people may sign, some may lipread, some may listen and some may speak. Some may do all of these things. Always ask how they prefer to communicate.

Useful websites: