Heavy snowfalls couldnʼt deter past and present Teachers of the Deaf, current and past
pupils (several with their offspring!), partners, parents, grandparents, siblings and friends
from attending the Open Day in Orpington on Saturday 17 March.

BROMLEY CHAIN was there to celebrate the past 40plus years of enlightened Deaf
Education in the borough and our shared history. Our small independent, local charity was
founded in 1980, mainly by parents of deaf children, and over the years the links have
been strengthened via our donations and input in items such as the sign language
dictionaries, reading schemes, equipment, sponsorship and, most recently, the funding of
a successful year long pilot scheme for a specialist signing counsellor to work with
individual Deaf pupils in need of such support.

To share in another Open Day was, as before, a positive and enjoyable experience! Our
new Bromley Chain banner had pride of place in the corridor alongside our display stand
and served as a reminder to people that we are still Supporting, Sponsoring,
Campaigning, Informing and Raising Deaf Awareness in the borough. At least three deaf
second generation members have come from the school and risen to become Chair, Vice
Chair and Treasurer before moving on.

The innovative day featured famous ex-pupil Chris Fonseca (from the Smirnoff adʼ)
teaching Hip Hop to enthusiastic deaf youngsters, siblings and parents, and there were
also lyrical signed songs from senior pupils, Deaf Men Dancing, circus skills, dinosaur
puppets, painting and art, plus a visit from the local Fire Fighters whose engine was a big
attraction in the chilly car park!

FOG (Friends of Griffins) were raising funds via refreshments and a tombola, DeafPlus/
Deaf Access, !Remark, CICS (Cochlear Implanted Childrenʼs Society) and Hearing Dogs
were also represented and senior pupils from the Deaf Centre had entered a competition
to design a Deaf Awareness poster, each one showing great insight and positive attitude.
With The Silent Child film making headlines after deservedly winning its Oscar, this seems
a good time to showcase the excellent tradition of using sign language and Total
Communication in local Deaf education and to celebrate todayʼs visionary and stimulating
teaching from the Sensory Support Service which has gone from strength to strength,
despite the many challenges in staffing, budgets and added pressure with audioloogy,
speech and language therapy, health and social issues.

The Then & Now Open Day was a great success and everyone responsible for its
excellent organisation deserves a medal!
Jenny Froude