Many BATOD members will be saddened to hear of the death of Ann Ryding. Ann had battled with melanoma for many years and died in May 2020. Ann Ryding was the inspirational Head of Wolverhampton Sensory Inclusion from 1996 until her retirement in 2013. Even after retiring Ann continued to support families through her very active role in Wolverhampton and District Deaf Children’s Society.
Ann was a dedicated, professional teacher whose whole career was committed to education in Wolverhampton. She trained as a Teacher of the Deaf in 1986 and as Head of Service she worked tirelessly for all the pupils in the care of the Sensory Inclusion Service. Ann was always the first visitor to families after a diagnosis of hearing impairment, bringing hope, encouragement and empathy.
Ann believed passionately that pupils should be supported to achieve their potential. She was committed to providing the most appropriate support for all the pupils in the care of the service regardless of ability or means of communication.
Ann was a very proficient user of British Sign Language and she employed Deaf role models to ensure that pupils who used Sign Supported English became confident individuals. The support she organised, during the period of her leadership, for pupils in mainstream schools, enabled many very deaf youngsters to speak clearly, to have impressive academic achievements, and to go on to successful careers.
Whilst being committed to supporting the education and auditory needs of pupils, Ann also cared about the emotional well being of the deaf children and young people in her care. She gave much time and energy to organising regular social events enabling them to meet, have fun together and develop friendships.
Ann ensured that there was close collaboration between the Hearing Impaired Service and colleagues in Audiology which was of great benefit to all involved. She set up a playgroup in the same building as Children’s Hearing Services which was very advantageous to the children, parents, carers, and staff from both services. At the other end of the age spectrum Ann organised informative Transition Days to support pupils as they left school and transferred to Adult Services. In an article in the BATOD Magazine of January 2005 teachers from the Birmingham Service for Hearing Impaired Pupils pay tribute to the way Ann inspired their Transition Day and to the fact that with typical generosity she freely shared resources with them.
Ann Ryding’s dedication to teaching, to supporting pupils and their families, to the advancement of deaf education, and to developing her staff team was outstanding. She will be much missed.
Elizabeth Bennett, Margaret Crossland, Jan Morgan and Julie Ashford