Mary Hare’s ethos was that deafness was
not a learning disability but rather a
sensory impairment that presents the deaf child with additional barriers to learning. At the time this was a quite unique approach. She established a school in her own home in 1883 and after her death in 1945 Mary Hare School was moved to its current location near Newbury.
To this day, the School continues to fulfil her vision for the auditory/oral education of deaf children.
Why do we want to build a new Primary School?
We know that the more that is done to help Primary aged pupils such as Marcie (see case study), the greater the chances of an eventual smooth transition to adulthood in the hearing world. The impact of specialist support in the Primary years is even greater than that achieved in later school years so our appeal will fund the cost of building a new Primary School and boarding house on its own separate site within the main Mary Hare campus where we can do even more to improve outcomes for our pupils.
Shortcomings of our existing accommodation
The current Primary School accommodation is a beautiful grade 2* listed, late-Victorian building in the Elizabethan style, set in wonderful grounds some twenty minutes’ drive across Newbury from the Secondary site. However, the truth is that despite its architectural appeal, the existing building and location is a constraint on our work and no longer meets our Primary School’s needs. It is expensive to maintain, costly to heat and difficult to modernise. Other limitations of the existing accommodation which are exacerbated by its listed status include:
- Limited space/opportunity to extend/refurbish to meet increasing pupil numbers;
- Restricted natural light in many areas of the building making lip-reading more difficult;
- The inability to give acoustic treatment to many of the building’s common areas;
- Location – being situated across Newbury from the Secondary School means that members of staff waste valuable time in transit (Newbury’s traffic congestion is notorious);
- Primary pupils also need to access facilities on the Secondary site (swimming pool, audiology, music therapy sessions);
- The current Primary building is not accessible for children with additional mobility problems.
Proposals for Mary Hare Primary School’s new accommodation
Mary Hare is seeing this as a project that can meet the needs of Primary School aged deaf children from all over the UK for the next 40 years plus. As explained in the information about our work and why we exist, we see our role as central to the provision of education for deaf children in the UK. We anticipate growth in pupil numbers in the coming years and for that reason we are submitting plans for approval to accommodate up to 48 pupils. This is an aspirational vision for the School but is backed up by an increase in interest in the School from new families and evidence of a reduction in mainstream support.
The Architect’s designs for the new school building and boarding house are aimed at inspiring confidence and lifting aspirations and will feature the very latest audiological technologies. Classrooms will be light, bright and built to the highest acoustic specification to ensure that pupils can interact not only with their teachers but also their fellow pupils. Both buildings will be fully accessible.
Plans for the new building are available on our website: www.maryhareschool.org.uk/primaryappeal