Centre for the Deaf

At Coopers Lane, we have a specialist provision for Deaf children with a significant hearing loss and who have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP).

Our school mission statement ‘All different, All equal, All smiling’ is at the heart of everything we do, both at Coopers Lane Primary School and in the Centre for the Deaf.


We are the only primary school in Lewisham to have a Resource Base for Deaf children and offer a ‘Total Communication Approach’. This is a multisensory approach to communication, entailing the use of voice, British Sign Language, Sign Supported English, lip pattern and gesture; reinforced through visual resources, body language and facial expressions, which help to secure each child’s understanding and make learning meaningful to them. Each child’s preferred mode of communication will be used with them at all times. A Total Communication approach helps to motivate the child and does not interfere with the development of language skills such as speech or sign language, but instead supports and underpins both.

If a child’s preferred mode of communication is predominantly sign language, we use Sign Supported English during lessons, which involves using British Sign Language signs, but using English word order, this supports the child’s learning of the English language.

Signing is used to support communication, teaching and learning. We aim to make maximum use of the hearing each child has, through consistent use of their amplification equipment, such as hearing aids, speech processors, Bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA) and radio aids, as appropriate to each child.

We also use Visual Phonics with our Deaf pupils as needed. Visual Phonics provides a visual cue to demonstrate letter sounds. Each sound has a visual cue that is linked to the BSL fingerspelling alphabet, which is signed near the face, whilst the letter sound is made. This method supports the development of literacy skills and lip-reading awareness. Visual phonics is a great resource for Deaf children, as it makes the phonic aspects of words easier to identify and supports the acquisition of speech sounds and segmenting and blending of sounds.


All our Deaf children are fully included in their mainstream class and follow the curriculum, which, where required, will be adapted to meet their needs. They receive support throughout the day, by a Communication Support Worker (CSW), teacher of the Deaf or signing teaching assistant as required, with independent learning and exploration encouraged at all times. Through offering specialist support, as needed, we aim to maximise each Deaf child’s educational and personal potential to the full, whist promoting their independence.

We have several acoustically treated rooms within the CfD provision for small group and one to one work. These rooms contain visual, tactile displays to develop a child’s inquisitive nature and thirst for knowledge and learning. These rooms are used for small group teaching, with the group consisting of both hearing and Deaf children and also for one-to-one interventions and Speech and Language sessions.

At Coopers Lane there are soundfield systems in most classrooms within the school which benefit all children. Soundfield systems amplify the teacher’s voice, distributing it more evenly throughout the classroom, ensuring each child receives the best listening experience, to enhance their learning. Radio aids can be linked to the soundfield system, to enable the speaker’s voice to be transmitted directly into the Deaf child’s amplification equipment.

In addition to all mainstream lessons and activities, we encourage the Deaf children to develop an understanding of Deaf Culture, attend Deaf clubs and annually they have the opportunity to meet with their Deaf peers from across the borough.

Deaf Awareness is an integral part of the school, with Deaf Awareness and basic signing taught to a range of year groups across the school each year to promote inclusivity. The Centre for the Deaf also run a key stage 2 signing choir, for both Deaf and hearing children.

We believe our Deaf children have the best of both worlds; having hearing and Deaf peer groups, enabling them to be an integral part of both communities.

Adults your child may work with

Our Deaf children will encounter and work with a range of people throughout the week, these include: –

  • Our Teacher of the Deaf (ToD)
  • Communication Support Worker (CSW)
  • Signing teaching assistant (STA)
  • Class Teacher
  • Class Teaching Assistant (TA)
  • A visiting Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT)

Speech and language

We have a specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT), who visits every two weeks, who specialises in speech and language for Deaf children. Where appropriate, the SaLT will assess the needs of each Deaf child and suggest activities to develop their communication skills. This will then be implemented throughout the week, alongside personal targets from the child’s Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP), by the CSW, STA or teacher of the Deaf.


Admissions to the Centre for the Deaf

The London Borough of Lewisham offer places within the centre after assessment.

Our Deaf children in the Centre for the Deaf have a significant hearing loss as their primary need and will have been issued with an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP). This document will set out the specific needs of the child and how these should be met. The EHCP has to be reviewed each year in partnership with the parents, at an annual review meeting.

Pupils must:

  • be of primary/nursery school age (nursery – year 6)
  • have an Education Health Care Plan
  • have a primary diagnosis of a hearing loss/deafness
  • need for a specific communication method, i.e. Total Communication or Oral
  • need daily specialist intervention in order to access the curriculum
  • need access to deaf and hearing peers

Specialist support offered: 

  • access to regular Teacher of the Deaf teaching
  • access to regular weekly specialist speech and language therapy
  • maintenance of hearing aids to optimum working levels
  • provision and use of radio aid where appropriate (e.g. not generally used in Reception class or with children with syndromes e.g. Goldenhar syndrome).
  • specialist learning resources.

Useful Links

Lewisham Specialist Provision


National Deaf Children’s Society. Support and advice for parents and professionals


Signature – British Sign Language (BSL) awarding body


Online courses and resources that can be tailor-made


Online dictionary for signs


Spread the sign – an online dictionary of sign language https://www.spreadthesign.com/en.gb/search/

Apps with stories for all ages that are signed


Website to teach a range of signs


Contacting the School

Coopers Lane Primary School is situated in Grove Park in the borough of Lewisham. The entrance to the school is in Pragnell Road, SE12 0LF

School Times

School Day
Mon-Fri 8:45am to 3:15pm,
Breakfast Club 7:30am to 8:45am
Afterschool clubs 3.30pm to 4.30pm
After school Tea Club 3:15pm to 6:00pm

School Office

Telephone: 0208 857 7680

Office Email




Ayse Mehmet – SBM (School Business Manager)

Rachel McCulloch – Senior Admin Assistant

Karen Hill – Admin Assistant/Attendance Officer

Claire Huckle – Admin Assistant