School in Barking scoops two 'prestigious' TES awards

Eastbury Community Schools ARP staff and pupils

Eastbury Community School's deaf additional resource provision (ARP) won the alternative provision school of the year and overall school of the year gongs at the 2021 TES Schools Awards. - Credit: Eastbury Community Scool

A school in Barking has scooped two national awards.

Eastbury Community School's deaf additional resource provision (ARP) won the alternative provision school of the year and overall school of the year gongs at the 2021 TES Schools Awards.

The annual awards aim to celebrate the most outstanding people and institutions the education sector has to offer.

Eastbury's deaf ARP provides pupils with schooling in deaf culture and history, language, cognitive and academic development.

The judges said that despite stiff competition from schools in other categories, Eastbury Community School ARP "stood head and shoulders above the rest".

"The school for deaf children in key stages three to five, exemplifies some of the best practice not just in the alternative provision sector, but across all schools countrywide," they noted.

All staff have at least level three in British Sign Language (BSL) with some gaining this skill during lockdown.

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They added that "perhaps most impressive of all" was students’ BSL version of The 12 Days of Christmas screened at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

Executive headteacher David Dickson said: "Myself and the governors are absolutely delighted that our deaf ARP has received long-overdue national recognition for [its] innovative and ground-breaking work. 

"[It is a worthy winner of] these two prestigious awards. The ARP staff are an amazing group of talented, dedicated and caring professionals who work tirelessly in the best interests of deaf children."

The school also earned praise for using social media to connect with students, parents and the deaf community in a new and modern way. 

Staff achievements were noted, including lead teacher Helen Devereux's election to the British Association for Teachers of the Deaf executive committee and Alex McMullan-Bell contributing to research into deaf education with his first peer-reviewed paper.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for educational attainment and school improvement at Barking and Dagenham Council, said: "I am thrilled that the staff have had their hard work and dedication honoured with these two prestigious awards.

"In what has been a challenging year for all schools, to win two national awards is an outstanding achievement and incredibly well deserved."

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