A deaf teacher at Doncaster School for the Deaf has successfully completed a special postgraduate diploma which means she is now a fully qualified Teacher for Deaf Children and Young People (ToD).
Shauna Flannigan, who is originally from Derby but now lives in Selby in North Yorkshire, has been teaching art and photography at Doncaster School for the Deaf, part of Doncaster Deaf Trust, for the last five years after doing a placement there as part of her initial teacher training programme in 2019.
However, to become a fully qualified specialist ToD, Shauna had to undertake further training and has recently graduated after finishing a Postgraduate Diploma Inclusive Education (Deaf Learners) at the University of Edinburgh.
Shauna, who is herself deaf and uses BSL as her first language, said: “Working with and teaching deaf children is something I have always wanted to do. I enjoy experimenting with new and interesting ways to engage the children in learning, and love to see the impact this has on them.
“Being part of a specialist school enables me to get to know each of the children I teach very well, meaning I can adapt the lessons to meet individual needs, which ultimately means the pupils can achieve their best work. As a deaf person working in a deaf school, I have good empathy and experience which fuels me to be the best role model I can be. It is important to me that the pupils I work with develop a ‘deaf can’ attitude.
“To become a fully qualified ToD, I recently completed the Postgraduate Diploma Inclusive Education (Deaf Learners) at the University of Edinburgh which is the only university in the UK to include a Deaf Studies module.
“This module was of the upmost importance to me as a deaf person as it has supported me to better teach the children I work with in developing their deaf identity and self-worth. I also liked that the course had deaf lecturers and as a deaf BSL user myself it was wonderful to be able to attend a lecture that is delivered in my first language.
“Becoming a deaf ToD has always been my dream and I am really pleased to have now achieved it and learnt such a lot along the way. I believe with every fibre in my being that deaf children deserve access to good quality education, and that with this, they can achieve anything. I want deaf children to have full and equal access to education, and to leave school confident and competent to transition to their next stage.
“One of the biggest take aways I have from the ToD course is I have developed a deeper understanding of the impacts of language delay and deprivation and the long-term effects this has on deaf children. I have become more knowledgeable about how we can support deaf children to read. I have also enrolled on a course which will teach me how to assess pupils BSL productive skills, working alongside the Speech and Language Therapy team. I look forward to the development of this, which will ultimately benefit the pupils.”
Jane Goodman, head of Doncaster School for the Deaf, said: “We are really proud of Shauna and all the hard work she has put into graduating from her course. She is a really valued member of our team who brings an abundance of enthusiasm and dedication to her role at the school which really helps benefit our pupils.”