RAF Benevolent Fund supports Burghfield school

PUBLISHED: 01:16 21 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:10 20 February 2013

Pupils at Burghfield St Mary's School are benefitting from a new surround sound-style system that helps the children hear their teacher more clearly

Pupils at Burghfield St Marys School are benefitting from a new surround sound-style system that helps the children hear their teacher more clearly and increases levels of concentration thanks to the generosity of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

With its close links to the RAF 46 of the 166 pupils are Service dependents - the school approached the RAF Benevolent Fund for a grant to enable them to purchase the 1800 sound-field system.

The system is needed to help address the extremely poor acoustics throughout the school and ensure that one of its pupils, Georgia Cullen who is profoundly deaf and has a cochlear implant, can access the full curriculum along with her hearing peers.

Speaking at the cheque presentation, Head Teacher, Antony Gallagher said: We pride ourselves on being an inclusive school, and offering all of our pupils extra support wherever it is needed whether this is emotional support when our Service mums and dads are overseas on Operations or installing specialist equipment to give ALL pupils equal access to the curriculum. Wed like to thank the RAF Benevolent Fund for helping us to achieve this.

For five-year-old Georgia, the sound-field system means that she can participate fully in all areas of school life. The sound from the system is picked up directly by Georgias cochlear implant and ensures that she hears everything being said. In a class of 30 children this is vital.

By amplifying the teachers voice, giving it a surround sound effect, the system also benefits those children who need a little help with focusing on what is going on.During the trial of the system, teaching staff have found that ALL children benefited from the sound-field system; levels of concentration increased, understanding of what was being asked increased, and a general feeling of all round inclusion was noted.

Georgias dad, Squadron Leader Steve Cullen added: The school works so closely with parents, particularly to support children with additional needs. It was important to us that Georgia attend our local school, and the staff at Burghfield St Marys not only enabled Georgia to settle in to mainstream education, but they have enabled her to absolutely thrive.

Prior to the school installing the sound-field system, Georgia struggled during school assemblies and group activities as she could not hear what was going on. Now, along with her classmates, she can understand what is being said and will be able to reach her full potential.

I am really delighted to see the difference this donation is already making, and especially pleased to meet Georgia in person. This grant is a great example of how the RAF Benevolent Fund is there for the whole RAF family not only the serving and former RAF personnel who serve their country with such dedication, but their children and dependants too.

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