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RIDBC’s long history educating children

Since 1860, RIDBC has been making a difference in the lives of people with hearing and vision loss.
Thomas Patterson and children of yesteryear and today
  • Vision
  • Hearing

For many people, when they hear RIDBC they think of our schools. In fact, it was the first part of our story. Thomas Pattison, a deaf migrant from Scotland, travelled to Australia and in 1860 established a school to be known as the ‘Deaf and Dumb Institution’ which later became the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).

First enrolments of children who were blind

In 1869, nine years after being established, the first blind children were enrolled to receive specialist services and RIDBC was renamed ‘The New South Wales Institution for the Deaf, Dumb and the Blind.’ This was a significant moment in our history as to this day, RIDBC supports people with hearing and vision loss, something that has always distinguished us from other service providers.

Increasing speech and literacy

RIDBC owes much to the many people that have contributed to our development. One such person is Harold Earlam who, in 1911, introduced techniques and placed emphasis on teaching children who were deaf to speak. Simultaneously, for students who were blind he extended the use of braille within the school by ensuring students had access to the most suitable braille books and the latest braille equipment.

Moving to North Rocks

Synonymous with North Rocks is RIDBC. But that wasn’t always the case and the school has moved several times. After beginning in Liverpool Street, the school moved to Castlereagh Street, Paddington, Darlington and Wahroonga, before settling at North Rocks in 1963.

Educating children with hearing or vision loss today, for tomorrow

Today, RIDBC continues as a leading education provider for children. The merger of Taralye and Early Education Program (EEP) with RIDBC in 2018 meant we were able to extend our preschools service to Victoria.

Today, RIDBC offers the following preschools and schools:

  1. RIDBC Rockie Woofit Preschool at North Rocks, NSW for children learning to listen and talk.
  2. RIDBC Roberta Reid Preschool at North Rocks, NSW, a bilingual (Auslan and English) program for deaf and hard of hearing children who are being educated with their hearing peers.
  3. RIDBC Taralye Kindergarten at Blackburn, Victoria, an inclusive early learning program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their hearing peers.
  4. RIDBC VisionEd Preschool at North Rocks, NSW for children who are blind or have low vision.
  5. RIDBC Alice Betteridge School at North Rocks, NSW for students who are deafblind or have vision loss, as well as a level of intellectual impairment.
  6. RIDBC Garfield Barwick School at North Rocks, NSW for children who have a significant hearing loss and are learning to listen and speak.
  7. RIDBC Thomas Pattison School at North Rocks, NSW for students who are deaf who use Auslan and English in its written and spoken form.

The future of education at RIDBC

Since day one RIDBC has been committed to the education of children and that commitment remains as strong as ever. In fact, we’ll advance the RIDBC experience by uniting under one brand. And in 2023, we’ll relocate to the Macquarie University precinct to establish Centres of Excellence to best suit the current and future needs of our students.

This news article was created prior to 22 March 2021 when NextSense was Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).

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