Some two years after their initial meeting at Manchester’s Corn Exchange on 11th June 1823, Robert Philips and William Bateman, the founders of the original charity, opened their school for deaf children in rented premises in Salford. Eight girls and six boys were given places funded entirely by public subscriptions. Within four years demand grew and a purpose-built school was needed.
After more concerted fundraising, Old Trafford opened its doors on 21 June 1837 – the same day that Queen Victoria ascended the throne. She was later to bestow royal patronage on the school during her Diamond Jubilee. An Infant and then Upper school soon followed. It was not until 1894 and after much pressure on the government from the school’s President at the time, Lord Egerton of Tatton, that legislation was passed which extended much-needed state education to deaf children.
1880 saw the first experimental audiophone used at the school. In the same year a landmark conference in Milan imposed wholly oral methods of education on all deaf schools. This remained in place until the 1970s.
Close ties with the University of Manchester started at the end of the Great War when the first lectureship in Deaf Education was founded and by 1920 students from the department began their teaching practice at the school. The first audiometers were used with students in 1929 which led to them being fitted with the latest 'multi-phones' and later with electric amplifiers in 1934 - designed by a research physicist at the University of Manchester. A post Second World War move to Cheadle Hulme saw the students move into new accommodation. At the same time increasing numbers of deaf children with additional needs, whose needs could not be met elsewhere, joined the school.
As local authorities began including deaf children in mainstream provision a special unit was opened in 1972 for students with more complex needs and by 1979 a decision was made that the school would specialise only in those pupils with additional and complex needs. 52-week provision began in earnest in 1986, and the school's specialist Deafblind or Multi-Sensory Unit was opened in 1990.
Griffin Lodge, the charity's first residential home for autistic young deaf adults, was built in 1998. Shortly after, the Special Educational Needs and disability Act of 2001 led to the rapid growth in the number of students being referred to the college on campus.
By 2005 such were the numbers being refeerred to the college that the building was completely refurbished in 2007 and a new wing was completed in 2008. Today we are embarking on the most exciting development since moving to Cheadle Hulme.