Birmingham REP helps with course for deaf students

Published: 14 October 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Braidwood Trust School students with Bhavik Parmar, Birmingham REP’s head of education Credit: Hannah Kelly Photography

Birmingham REP has helped to establish the country’s first BTEC performing arts qualification specifically for deaf students.

Eight year 11 and year 12 students from Braidwood Trust School for the Deaf in Birmingham were the first to sit the BTEC tech award in performing arts and received “exceptional” results. Students travelled from as far as Coventry to take part.

On the course, verbal communication is kept to a bare minimum. Instead, students are required to make use of alternative communication channels. They had the opportunity to take part in performances on the Rep stage inspired by The 101 Dalmatians and Peter Pan.

One student, Jamie Thompson, said, “I think the course really helped to boost everyone’s confidence. I never realised how many emotions I have but this course helped me find out so much more about myself.”

The REP has fostered relationships with more than 20 schools in the West Midlands and “continues to encourage and motivate young people about careers in the arts and ensuring everyone has an opportunity to enjoy theatre”.

Bhavik Parmar, the REP’s head of education, said, “we work with so many passionate students, many of whom are desperate to experience theatre but can’t because it’s simply not accessible for them. The REP is a big supporter of opening the arts to all. We really do hope it will be a stepping stone in making arts more inclusive.”