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BSL Tutors

Hello my name is Nikki James. I've worked at the Academy for many years as a Deaf Instructor, my colleague Matt carries out the same role.

We support Deaf students who use BSL as their first language. We feel it is important for the students to be confident with their BSL skills, knowledge, understanding of English and to generally build their confidence.

BSL Tutor Support

I support the Primary children from reception up to year 6. I don't teach these children formal BSL lessons, I empathise with them and act as a Deaf role model. I also support them with their language as some of the children have limited access to language at home, which can be frustrating. When they are here they can fully express themselves.

I play with the language whilst teaching and working. I also support the teachers, for example, I work alongside the literacy teacher and provide the BSL for the children, so that they can access both English and BSL.

As well as language, I support the children with their social skills. If a child kicks off I don't tell them off, I act clueless so that they have to explain the situation to me. Often they realise their own mistakes by doing so therefore building their confidence. We work on appropriate social behaviours such as eye contact and touching.

I also support Secondary and College students. Depending on student numbers I have two or three groups. One group is for students with additional needs, for example, Autistic students. We have one student who finds social interactions difficult, therefore when teaching BSL some students will go on to do BSL exams whereas for some it is the everyday life skills they need, such as eye contact, respect and confidence. This group can be taught at their own pace.

I feel that it is really important to have Deaf Instructors because we are Deaf role models for the students. I am an ex-student from Exeter Deaf Academy, therefore the students can see that I have a job and have many life achievements, which they can also be encouraged to achieve.