Unique school receives royal seal of approval

Jamie Rea was given a signed page from HRH the Duchess of Gloucester thanking him for his help unveiling the commemorative plaque to mark Jordanstown School's official opening. INNT 50-015-FP
Jamie Rea was given a signed page from HRH the Duchess of Gloucester thanking him for his help unveiling the commemorative plaque to mark Jordanstown School's official opening. INNT 50-015-FP

THE Duchess of Gloucester visited Jordanstown School to unveil a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the centre of excellence for deaf and blind children on Wednesday, December 5.

The Duchess, a cousin of the Queen through marriage, toured the school with Principal Anne Magee and saw how the teachers and the building are uniquely trained and designed to offer a tailored education to children with visual and hearing impairments.

The school, the only one of its kind throughout the UK and Ireland, provides a unique child-centred approach to communication and education and is equipped with state-of-the-art testing and therapy facilities.

The Duchess saw first hand the methods and technology employed to help give the children the best possible education.

Following her tour the Duchess was then guest of honour at a special assembly along with invited guests and members of the Newtownabbey Learning Community.

Aoife Devlin, who is blind, gave a solo performance of ‘The Prayer’ in English and Italian which was signed by profoundly deaf teenager Jamie Rea.

Reverend Clyde Irvine, Chair of the school’s Trustees and Board of Governors, welcomed the Duchess to the school.

He said: “This is a momentous occasion for us. The official opening is one of the happiest days in the long history of the Ulster Society for Promoting the Education of the Deaf and Blind.

“This project has been a major commitment but we are pleased that we have been able to fund, design and manage the project to completion.”

Full story and pictures in this week’s paper...