Mary Hare School
Miss Mary Hare qualified as a teacher of the deaf at the age of 18 and opened her first school in 1916, in West Sussex, having previously taught children in her own home. She devoted her entire life to teaching as well as promoting the idea of oral education for deaf children. She was determined to prove to the hearing world that deaf children were capable of academic excellence and today the Mary Hare organisation still follows her principles, believing that all children should have the opportunity for academic and personal success.
Mary Hare School is a registered charity.
Mary Hare welcomes pupils from reception age to 18 years of age, educating around 220 profoundly and severely deaf young people each year, from all over the UK. The last Ofsted inspection was in February 2020 and the School was found to be ‘Good’. Many pupils go on to university when they leave, whilst others choose an apprenticeship or move directly into employment.
Robin Askew took up the role as Principal in September 2022, having previously been Vice Principal for many years.
The School provides specialist support including a team of Speech and Language therapists, a full audiology department, qualified Teachers of the Deaf, specialist Teaching Assistants, technologies to amplify sound in the classroom and a learning environment designed to optimise pupils’ use of their residual hearing.
Language is at the heart of the education we provide, and we place a great emphasis on the development of language skills, both in and out of the classroom.
All staff teach using an auditory/oral approach, without the use of signing. Many pupils who come to Mary Hare School do so because they are not happy in their local school. A deaf pupil can feel isolated if they are the only deaf child in a school. It is also not easy to learn in a large class where background noise and poor acoustics make hearing the teacher and other pupils almost impossible, even if the teacher is wearing a microphone.
Jasper joined Mary Hare School in year 7. This is what his mum said about his previous school:
“Being the only deaf pupil at school meant that having a deaf peer group was increasingly important to Jasper. He wanted to have friends who were like him, who understood how he felt and who had faced similar challenges. He also wanted a school where he was challenged academically and where he felt he would be given the same opportunities as his hearing peers. The most significant change we saw in Jasper [after joining Mary Hare School] was his growth in confidence. He is happy, settled and achieving academically. We have seen him grow and mature into a confident young person with a positive set of friends and peers.”
The Mary Hare organisation is more than ‘just’ a school. In 2006, Arlington Arts Centre was opened on the Mary Hare School campus. This unique venue is the only one of its kind specifically designed with the needs of deaf people to the fore.
As well as housing the Music teaching department and a recording studio for the school, the Centre contains a Music Therapy Unit, a 250-seat theatre and a suite of Meeting / Seminar Rooms, all of which are open to the public.
Our hearing aid repair service and our high street Hearing Centre in Newbury offer unique, specialist advice and support for adults with hearing loss. Our Training Services division runs a wide range of development opportunities for professionals – ranging from short course seminars to major international conferences and post-graduate training (in association with the University of Hertfordshire).