Bendigo Deaf Facility
Bendigo Deaf Facility is a P-12 Facility supporting deaf and hard of hearing students across three mainstream schools:
- Kennington Primary School for Prep to Grade 6 students. http://www.kenningtonps.vic.edu.au/
- Bendigo South East College for Years 7 to 10 students. http://www.bse.vic.edu.au/
- Bendigo Senior Secondary College for Years 11 and 12 students. http://www.bssc.edu.au/
Students and families benefit from continuity of specialised support in mainstream settings during the school years. Auslan is taught at all three host schools. Kennington Primary School is also a Bilingual school where Auslan and English are the two languages of instruction. Bendigo Senior Secondary College offers Auslan as a VCE subject.
How are students supported?
Bendigo Deaf Facility works in partnership with parents/carers and students. A Support Group determines the needs of the child and how to best meet those needs. This may be by qualified Teachers of the Deaf, Education Support Staff, Note taker or Auslan Interpreter working in mainstream classes, as a smaller group or one-on-one depending on needs of the student. Staff deployment is fluid across the three schools. The Facility respects each family’s choice regarding preferred communication for their child.
What other support is provided?
Bendigo Deaf Facility works closely with other agencies providing a holistic approach in supporting students. A paediatric audiologist from Australian Hearing provides routine school visits where she monitors and services hearing devices, takes new ear moulds and provides advice to facility staff in regard to management of audiological equipment. The Cochlear Implant Clinic provides advice and support in the management of processors.
Onsite Speech Pathologists develop articulation, listening, speaking and conversation skills for those students who have a need identified at Student Support Group meetings. The Facility has worked with an Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist and a Child Psychologist in the past.
Bendigo Deaf Facility works in partnership with Deaf Children Australia to meet other Deaf and hard of hearing children through social activities. The primary facility students meet weekly for Deaf Studies where understanding Deaf Identity, advocacy and developing positive social relationships are promoted. Bendigo Deaf Facility is a KidsMatter (Primary) and MindMatters (Secondary) school promoting positive mental health through inclusion and social and emotional programs.
McDonald House Trust
Deaf Education in Bendigo formally began in1951 with deaf students attending McDonald House School for Deaf Children. Between 1985 and 1989 students attending McDonald House began to be integrated into classes in neighbouring mainstream schools. At the end of 1989 McDonald House was officially closed and the merger with the then Department of Education was complete. As a result, a Trust was formed to financially support eligible families. Today, many families of the Bendigo Deaf Facility benefit from the partial reimbursement of school fees, school uniforms, school camp costs and other educational expenses related to their child enrolled in the Bendigo Deaf Facility.