In the Secondary Department we strive for high academic achievement according to individual potential and starting points. Pupils look beyond the classroom by taking part in a range of activities in the deaf community both at home and abroad. While helping pupils to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to leave our secure environment, we also encourage pupils to be lifelong learners as they enter further education or to the world of work. Pupils value each other and the relationships they make. Our high expectations challenge every pupil to raise their aspirations and develop their confidence.
Pupils join the department during their secondary phase of education. When they arrive, our pupils have a range of different language abilities and communication needs; some pupils have no first or established language. As a result, it is essential that learning and communication are tailored to the individual needs of our pupils. Deaf and hearing staff work throughout the Department which allows pupils access an environment which is rich is both BSL and English.
Pupils access an adapted National Curriculum and subjects are taught in a challenging, exciting and stimulating environment by subject specialist teachers, the majority of whom are teachers of the deaf.
- External examinations and assessments offered include Entry Level, GCSE, DiDA, BTEC and Signature BSL 1, 2 & 3.
- The English Curriculum promotes enjoyment of literacy and achievement. Pupils study a range of texts, including non-fiction, fiction, poetry, drama and media.
- Pupils have the opportunity to experience literacy outside the classroom, enhancing their understanding of, and pleasure in, literature and the creative arts through a partnership scheme with all the cultural campuses in Derby City.
- Pupils have the opportunity to use resources at local theatres, museums, dance studios and interactive ICT art galleries. The partnership scheme allows pupils to extend their creative learning out into the community and the world of work.
- The Drama department networks very closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) on a regular basis. We offer annual RSC workshops both residential in Stratford and non-residential at school.
- RSDD pupils can opt into a Young Researchers and Evaluators Group running in school, with an aim to improve the RSC live broadcasts for deaf audiences.
- A high-quality mathematics education provides a foundation for understanding the world and the ability to reason mathematically. Pupils strive to become fluent in the fundamentals to reason mathematically and to solve problems.
- Science lessons are taught in two well-equipped laboratories. Scientific knowledge is related to understanding familiar phenomena and to things that are used every day.
- We have linked with the University of Derby to allow pupils an opportunity to visit a higher education establishment and see how science can be applied in real life via the area of Forensic investigation.
- Pupils can access IT in all classrooms.
- Vocational options with local providers are offered at KS4.
- Personal and social development opportunities are offered through the teaching of PSHE, Emotional Literacy, World Today, Citizenship, IAG and Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award.
- Comprehensive transition planning at KS3 and KS4 ensures a smooth transfer to the next phase of education.
- A full range of extended enrichment activities include homework support sessions, Performing Arts clubs, media advertising, sporting activities such as cycling and many more. Enrichment sessions are channelled toward pupil preference. From pupil voice surveys, enrichment sessions are flexible and tailored to the needs of the pupils.
- Enterprise, personal finance education and work based learning develops and prepares pupils for being responsible members of the community. Giving Nation fundraising and enterprise projects are open to all Secondary department students on an annual basis.
- International links include partnerships with schools for the deaf in Europe and Africa. The school has recently had the opportunity to participate in the Comenius Project, as a result of which an international production of a drama was created and performed, in front of a live audience in a Viennese theatre, by students from RSDD and schools from Germany, Poland and Austria. This project is an excellent example of the opportunities for cultural exchange visits and the personal development of our students which we endeavour to offer. We are currently exploring other opportunities for similar partnership projects including building on our relationship with our partner school in Derby’s twin town Osnabruck in Germany.
- The school council comprises pupils from every year group and has a number of different roles, from organising fundraising events for charities to making suggestions about renovations to the school environment. Recently, the school council has been part of the planning committee involved in the purchase and placement of outdoor gym equipment which can be used by the school community.
- There is an active Signing Choir that performs at a variety of functions including Derby Cathedral, events in the City and at the school itself. The choir regularly visits a range of locations around Derby City to raise awareness of the Deaf community and fundraise for the school community.
- Rigorous assessment and monitoring of pupil progress continues throughout the secondary phase and ensures that all pupils have the opportunity to achieve to their potential.
- Students' achievement and attainment progresses through personalised tracking and support.
- Safeguarding is given high priority and 100% of pupils state they feel safe at school and in their environment.
Proactive strategies are used to encourage young people to become socially and emotionally aware. Targeted groups of pupils take part in Smile (strategies and measurable interaction in Live English) Therapy. Smile Therapy is functional communication and social skills for deaf students and students with special needs. This is supervised and co-ordinated by our Speech and Language Therapist and our Literacy and BSL Leads.