New Build in Exmouth

 Birds eye view of the new Deaf Academy in Exmouth
Latest news

The Exmouth Rolle site was purchased in September 2016 to create a new home for the Deaf Academy.  In conjunction with the architectural and town planning studios at Stride Treglown, we were pleased to present a proposal for the site, which both meets the ambitions of the Deaf Academy and hopefully the aspirations of the local community.

The public were invited to give their feedback on the proposals in May 2017, before the planning application for the exciting plans was submitted to East Devon District Council at the start of July 2017. As part of the initial enabling works that has been previously agreed with East Devon District Council, early demolition works commenced at the end of August 2017.

On 1 November, 2017 planning permission was granted by East Devon District Council.

On 7 November, the new designs were presented with architects Stride Treglown at “The Future of Deaf Education” event, held at the House of Lords on the invitation of the Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE.

The main build is scheduled to begin in 2018 and the doors of the new Deaf Academy will be open for the academic year 2019/20.

Download a copy of our public consultation leaflet.
Click here to view our planning application on the East Devon District Council website.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to view the designs for The Deaf Academy in Exmouth, designed by award winning architects Stride Treglown.


Since May 2017, Exeter Deaf Academy and Stride Treglown have undertaken months of extensive consultation with the Academy’s students and staff to inform the key design principles for the new build. The multi-million pound project will include a new education building, student accommodation and the refurbishment of the existing Owen Theatre, to create a fully inclusive place for Deaf young people. 

The designs for the new Academy incorporate aspects of Deaf Space architecture throughout the building, including the careful management of natural light, flexible layouts, intelligent acoustic treatments, wide corridors and clear sight lines to support visual communication. All this underpins the Deaf Academy’s specialist work to build confidence and independence in all its students.

The Deaf Academy in Exmouth will specialise in enabling Deaf British Sign Language users with additional needs to lead independent lives. Bringing deaf and hearing communities together is at the heart of that vision. The long-term aspiration for the new Deaf Academy is to enable Exmouth to become a role model to the rest of the UK as Britain’s first Deaf-friendly town.

Highlights of the design:
  1.    A bright naturally lit central Atrium specifically designed to provide a lively and engaging meeting, dining and learning space.

  2.    A staircase will wrap around a lift from the ground floor Primary School to the upper level Secondary School and College to establish a clear learning
       journey for students and reinforce  their progression.
  3. The existing Owen Building will be refurbished and rendered in white with the theatre retained and available for wider community use.

  4. The classrooms and vocational workspaces are designed to facilitate teaching using British Sign Language (BSL) and will be equipped with modern technology to inspire students to learn and prepare them for work.

  5. There are fully accessible therapy services on site including a large ground floor therapy gym, ensuring all students, including those with physical disabilities and additional needs, are able to thrive.

  6. The three storey residential accommodation houses 50 generous bedrooms that cater for a growing student population with a range of additional needs. These are clustered around shared living and kitchen spaces for students to live in ‘family’ groups and develop valuable life skills

  7. Existing main vehicular access along Douglas Avenue will remain for school drop off and parent parking, with an additional pedestrian link from Rolle Road, providing a clear connection from the site to the town centre.

  8. Staff parking to the rear of the site with access from Fairfield Road.

  9. The land to the east of the site sits within the Conservation Area and includes the listed Eldin building & greenhouse. This area is not included within the current plans.

Our aspirations for the new Academy
  • Our new world class Academy will transform education and care services for Deaf children, young people and their families.

  • The site will house our school, college and residential accommodation, with the Academy creating a vibrant space designed to inspire our students and connect them with the wider community.

  • Our new campus provides distinct identities for school and college, establishing a clear learning journey for students as they progress.

  • Light open spaces optimise visual communication for sign language or lip-reading.

  • Good acoustics maximise access to sound for those using assistive technology, such as hearing aids.

  • Our classrooms and vocational work spaces, equipped with modern technology, will inspire students to learn and prepare them for work when they move on from the Academy.

  • The new Academy will be fully accessible with therapy services on site, ensuring all students, including those with physical disabilities and complex needs, are able to thrive.

  • Student residencies are designed in clusters. Students will cook their own meals and learn independent living skills, just like they would at home. In their spare time, students will be able to enjoy the fantastic amenities that Exmouth has to offer.

  • Family accommodation on-site will make it easier for parents to attend appointments or courses, such as our Family Sign Language weekends.
Being part of the community

Being part of a community is at the heart of our vision. We will look to make facilities available for local people, allowing others to benefit from our new Academy. We will also reach out to the community to create a deaf-friendly town, where our Deaf young people feel welcome.

We want our students to get involved and become confident, independent young people, actively participating in and contributing to the local community.

Our new Deaf Academy will enable us to build on our proud 190 year history and start an exciting new chapter in Exmouth, creating a brighter future for Deaf children and young people.