The Gonzague Pierre Louis Special Learning Centre is a privately run school on the island of Rodrigues, for children whose learning difficulties prevent them benefitting from the formal education offered by their local primary school.
The GPL Centre, administered by the Trevor Huddleston Association for the Disabled, opened in 1994, and offers an education adapted to the specific needs of each of its pupils. The Centre primarily catered for severe and profoundly deaf children who were taught to speak rather than sign as this was felt to better help the children to integrate within their family, community, and the general society.
In 1998, a class for visually impaired was opened, and in 2014 Braille and Mobility are being introduced for the first time as one of our pupils has become blind.
We also accept children who have serious speech and language problems, as well as those suffering from epilepsy if they are academically able.
In 2007, a small pre-primary class was opened in the hope that some children may develop enough spoken language in time to integrate primary school at 5/6 years of age. This has been quite successful although not all of our little ones are able to make the transfer and will remain with us. In 2014, there are 16 pupils in the pre-primary.
Those who leave the GPL Centre may come back as young adults for training in bee-keeping, coconut production skills, basic computer, and kitchen crafts.
In January 2014, there are 39 pupils of whom – 11 have a severe/profound hearing loss:
– 3 have a visual impairment:
– 6 are epileptic:
– 14 have serious learning difficulties:
– 5 have speech and language delays.
These children are grouped in small classes (a maximum of 6 in a group normally) so are given almost individual attention from their teacher. Moreover, the deaf children are taken individually each day for ‘conversation’ to help them develop oral language skills.
The Centre has a Head Teacher and 6 Teaching Assistants and is open daily during normal school terms from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.