The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education

Isabel Gibson retires from St John's School, Boston Spa July 2009

This summer, the staff and pupils of St Johnís said goodbye to Isabel Gibson, who retired after twenty three years at the school.

It was in 1986 that Isabel initially joined St Johnís to Ďhelp outí in the Science department. She very quickly revised the Science curriculum, significantly raising standards by introducing the study of three separate sciences and establishing the department as one of the key strengths of the School.

The focus of Isabelís work has been curriculum development and she has tirelessly led many exciting innovations that have been a significant part of the Schoolís evolution. Two of the most important of these have been a new differentiated special needs curriculum and the very successful Post 16 enrichment curriculum.

Most recently, a large part of Isabelís time has been devoted to the Schoolís bid to achieve status as a Specialist Special School. This was awarded in 2007 and has already enriched the experience of St Johnís pupils, by raising achievement, particularly in speaking and listening, and by providing inclusion opportunities with our local partner mainstream schools. Thanks to Isabel, the staff at St Johnís have been enthused to think creatively about developing the curriculum and the pupils are buzzing with ideas about exciting, new extra-curricular activities.

The motivating force behind all of Isabelís work has been her unfailing commitment to support pupils and colleagues in achieving their very best. It was with this aim that, in 2003, having taken on the role of Assistant Head Teacher, Isabel also undertook a research project funded by the Mary Grace Wilkinson Scholarship. Her published study, ĎTeaching Strategies used to Develop Short-term Memory in Deaf Childrení has been of great practical help to Teachers of the Deaf, both within and beyond St Johnís.

Isabel will be greatly missed by everyone connected with St Johnís: she will be remembered as an outstanding professional whose drive and enthusiasm have been inspirational, and she has always been ready to offer support and guidance, working selflessly to do the best for others and with others.

We all wish her a long, healthy and very happy retirement.