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Mary Hare pupils to star on TV this week

Channel 4 documentary will explore lives of deaf teenagers

Mary Hare pupils to star on TV this week

PUPILS at a Snelsmore school for deaf children will be featured in a new TV documentary on Channel 4 next week.

The cameras have been following four youngsters at Mary Hare School over the course of three terms in an effort to show what it is like growing up as a deaf teenager.

Lewis, a Year 10 pupil, and sixth formers Andrew and twins Fae and Mae each face their own individual challenges in the documentary, titled Deaf School.

Lewis is preparing to be fitted with a cochlear implant that he hopes will help him hear,

Andrew applies for the role of head boy in a bid to fit in with his peers more, while Fae and Mae are preparing to be separated when they leave Mary Hare for university.

School principal Peter Gale said: “It is great to be able to show our school and our amazing pupils to a national audience.

“I hope if viewers take one thing away from the programme, it will be that deafness is not a learning difficulty and there is very little that deaf people can’t do.”

Mary Hare is a national school for the deaf and is the largest school of its kind in the UK.

The school, which moved to Newbury in 1949 and was officially opened by Princess Margaret in 1950, uses the oral/auditory philosophy so British Sign Language is not used at all in the classroom – a method which some quarters of the deaf community have been critical of.

Mr Gale added: “As people will see in the programme, we learn through speaking, listening and the written word. 

“Other schools do it through sign language. 

“I think it will be a real shame if reaction to the programme is all about communication choices.

“These young people and their families have chosen what we do.  Others choose something different and that is fine.

“In the film, you get a glimpse of the fact that being deaf can be pretty hard. 

“However, get the support right and there is no reason why pupils can’t fly. 

“I just don’t accept that deaf people are somehow ‘wired differently’.

“They have the same hopes and aspirations, interests and worries as other young people of their age. I think the programme shows this.”

Deaf School will be shown on Channel 4 on Thursday, December 14, at 10pm.

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