Windsor Park School is a purpose-built school for the deaf, situated in west central Falkirk, approximately one mile from the centre. It provides services for pupils who have a significant hearing loss at nursery, primary and secondary stages. Pupils from West Lothian, Clackmannan and other authorities, who require a high level of support, are also educated in Windsor Park. As one of four schools for the deaf in Scotland, it is uniquely placed on the campus of a primary and a secondary school, viz. Bantaskin PS and Falkirk HS respectively. Our pupils are assigned to a primary class within Bantaskin Primary School. Our young learners have access to everything provided in the mainstream schools and integrate into these establishments, with support, to a greater or lesser degree depending on individual needs. Windsor Park's primary department has two classrooms (Room One and Room Two), a beautiful garden where we grow our own flowers, fruits, vegetables and compost. We also have outdoor gym equipment, a wheelchair accessible swing, trampoline and water feature. We encourage wildlife into our garden through providing bug hotels, bird feeders and creating hedgehog houses from sticks and leaves in the autumn. Our Primary department is accessible from the car park as we have a pathway leading to our classrooms. There is also a centre ramp which allows access to the extended building. Throughout, fire alarms are fitted with flashing lights to alert pupils and staff in the event of fire. A security system from Windsor Park to Bantaskin Primary is installed to ensure the safety of our pupils when moving between buildings.
National assessments and qualifications are delivered through Total Communication incorporating speech, audition, lip reading and Sign Supported English. British Sign Language is also introduced at an early stage to facilitate communication variations and needs. All our teachers have a primary or secondary teaching qualification and an additional specialist qualification in hearing impairment at least at diploma level. Alongside this, all staff have a qualification in British Sign Language. Staff work co-operatively with mainstream colleagues, parents and pupils to provide a supportive, relaxed and happy teaching and learning environment. Staff also work closely with Audiologists, Speech and Language Therapists, ENT departments of local hospitals and other agencies to establish the best provision for our hearing impaired learners. Our Sign Language Tutor provides classes for all associated staff, families and pupils. Seniors at Falkirk High School are given the opportunity to learn British Sign Language and we actively promote British Sign Language to all via social media, community events and through our Deaf Awareness activities such as 'Sign2Sing'.
Our visiting teachers from the Hearing Impairment Service and Visual Impairment Service are based in, and managed from, Windsor Park School. They support children and families from diagnosis to school leaving age making visits to home, pre-school, primary and secondary establishments. Our highly specialist teaching staff support and advise pupils, their families and mainstream staff through all transitions. Pre-school children who require a high level of support and/or alternative communication may attend Bantaskin Nursery where they will be fully supported for up to five sessions per week.
Depending on the degree of hearing loss and general progress, children are supported in an enhanced transition into Windsor Park School or into their local mainstream school as appropriate. Our Teachers of the Deaf provide annual in-service training for mainstream staff working with hearing impaired children and this is well attended by staff within our local authority, and beyond.
Our highly specialist Teachers of the Visually Impaired are also based at Windsor Park School. Visiting teachers support children from diagnosis through to school leaving age making home, nursery, primary and secondary visits. They also offer support and advice to families and other professionals and support pupils, their families and staff throughout all transition processes. Most pupils who have a visual impairment attend their local mainstream nursery and school. Mainstream staff, pupils and their families are supported by our visiting Teachers of the Visually Impaired. When possible, pupils will be given the opportunity to meet socially and take part in a variety of activities, organised and supported by our staff. Our Teachers of the Visually Impaired provide annual in-service training for mainstream staff working with visually impaired children and this is well attended by staff from our local authority and beyond.
The Parent and Toddler Group for deaf and visually impaired children meet weekly on Wednesday afternoons. The Sensory Impairment Service (SIS) staff support the group and parents have an opportunity to meet informally over coffee and chat together. They have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities to encourage and stimulate their child’s development. The highlight of the year is the Christmas party with a very special visitor!