Communication support for students

(L-R) Kobie (12), Principal Lee Bullock and Muadh (12). (Ljubica Vrankovic) 338284_09

Hannah Hammoud

Furlong Park School for Deaf Children has received a $25,000 grant to support the upgrade of the school’s ICT equipment to help students better communicate with their teachers.

Principal Lee Bullock said the grant would make a huge difference to the students’ learning and would also ease communication challenges.

“It will allow us to send messages directly from the office to the TV screens in each class, which will allow for a more inclusive environment where both deaf and hearing staff members can receive the information at the same time,” she said.

“It will also allow students to share their work easily with classmates, directly from their iPad to the TV screen.”

Ms Bullock, who has been the principal since 2017, is fluent in Auslan, as are many of the teachers at the school.

Ms Bullock said the ability to learn Auslan has huge benefits for deaf children and hard of hearing children.

“From a young age we all want and need to express ourselves and also be understood,” she said.

“Learning Auslan helps children develop a strong sense of self, and the confidence to be able to communicate.”

The 55 children at Furlong Park enjoy small class sizes and are supported by a teacher and a teacher’s aide in each class. The school has a mix of hearing and deaf teachers who deliver education in both spoken English and Auslan, with an emphasis on language development.

One of seven schools in Fraser awarded the $25,000 grant, Fraser MP Dr Daniel Mulino said Furlong Park was a worthy recipient.

“Seeing the students so engaged in learning and enthusiastic about their work, it is a real credit to the staff,” he said.

Furlong Park has been running for more than 35 years and grew out of the St Albans Deaf Unit, which operated from 1976-85 and was the first school of its kind in Victoria.