4.7.22 Wendy Smith, Associate Governor for the Focus Provision

I first visited the Focus Provision in September 2021 and shared everyone’s disappointment that the promised new build had not materialised. The temporary buildings were unsuitable for teaching deaf children (or any children!) due to their acoustic properties, their size and being detached from the main school buildings. I know how hard Amanda Dawson and the FP staff worked to speed up the new build. Despite all this, staff and children had settled in well and felt at home.

I visited again on 1st July in my dual role as Associate Governor and Lord Mayor of Nottingham. I was shown round the school by deaf and hearing children, including the head boy and girl. I saw deaf children in mainstream classes and also in the huts. Children from the FP told me about their recent trips to camp and to London. I then attended both assemblies where children asked me questions about my job. The signing choir signed songs and the whole school joined in.

If I had to use one word to sum up the ethos of the FP and how staff and children have settled into Mellers it would be ‘happy’. I heard nothing but positive comments during my visit – how happy staff are to be at Mellers, how welcome they have been made, how much has been done to help them. All of the children I met in the FP were happy, smiling and communicative (although I appreciate there will be ups and downs as in any school!)

Mellers has clearly embraced the deaf provision, and hearing children are very proud of being able to sign. I met some Mellers’ pupils at the Primary Parliament earlier in the week and they showed me the signs they knew. Integration is such an important part of having a special provision in a mainstream school and Mellers has clearly achieved this through a lot of preparation and hard work by all staff.

I’m looking forward to opening the new building during my time as Lord Mayor and following the continued progress of staff and pupils both in the Focus Provision and in mainstream.

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