Salesian’s all ears to students’ needs

Salesian principal Mark Brockhus said the students had adapted well. Picture: Damjan Janevski.

The door to an inclusive education is being opened to students who are deaf or losing their hearing, thanks to a new partnership at Salesian College in Sunbury.

The college will be the fifth campus of St Mary’s College for Hearing Impaired Students, with seven students benefiting from an integrated learning experience since the schools came to an agreement in time for the start of the current school year.

St Mary’s principal Amanda Purcell said feedback about the initiative had been “absolutely fantastic”.

‘‘It’s terrific to have local students who previously attended schools with a bit of an ad-hoc approach to deafness issues being included into Salesian’s teaching and programs,’’ she said.

Ms Purcell said the students were spending some of their time following a specialised program that catered for their deafness or hearing loss.

‘‘But we are trying to get them to spend as much time as possible in the regular Salesian classes,’’ she said.

‘‘We want them to feel they are being given the chance to have a really inclusive education.’’

Salesian principal Mark Brockhus said the students had adapted well.

Work to improve the acoustics of classrooms and the rollout of equipment, such as sound systems, is helping the transition.

‘‘We’re also finding it’s the kind of thing that is helpful to other students,’’ Mr Brockhus said.

The Salesian-St Marys initiative will be blessed by Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart during an opening ceremony on June 9.