Burwood Park Foundation


The work of our Burwood Park Foundation focuses on supporting deaf children and young people with additional learning needs. Please Contact Us if you would like to find more about how we can help. 

Please click here to learn more about our 2024 conference ‘Working with Deaf Children and Young People with Additional or Complex Needs’.



The Burwood Park Foundation was formed when Burwood Park School, a non-maintained special school for deaf students, closed in 1996.  The school itself had opened in 1955, as a selective Technical School for deaf boys.  Its Founder was Lady Boyd, who had the Guinness Family Trust’s house in Burwood Park, Surrey, adapted as a school.  Her advisors were Professor Sir Alexander and Lady Irene Ewing, pioneers in early diagnosis of deafness, and of oral education of deaf children.  A Governor and Trustee of the school was Malcolm McAlpine, who, with his wife Sheila, established the Ewing Foundation in 1952.

Burwood Park School was never large.  It opened with 35 pupils aged 11 to 15. In 1973, it developed a Sixth Form, Norfolk House College, on the site. In 1991, after a number of unsuccessful applications, it was finally allowed to admit girls when Woodford School closed.  There were then 57 pupils on roll – the school’s maximum number.

Despite becoming co-educational, and ceasing to be a selective school, numbers on roll gradually fell, and the school closed in 1996 with 44 pupils.  Some pupils took places in local provision, and a significant number transferred to Ovingdean Hall School near Brighton.

The Charities Commission gave permission for the Burwood Park School to become a charitable foundation using the residual funds from the sale of the school buildings. Lord Boyd, the son of the Founder, and the Trustees gave small grants relating to the education of deaf pupils, mainly for specialist equipment.


Burwod Park Foundation within Ewing Foundation

In 2006, the Burwood Park Board passed the management of the charity to the Ewing Foundation. A plan was developed to use the income from the charity’s investments to fund a specialist post offering support for deaf pupils with additional special needs.

Malcolm McAlpine became Chair of the new Board, and Pauline Hughes, who had joined the Ewing Foundation in 2005, stayed on as a Trustee.  New Trustees joined this Board: Hamish McAlpine (Chair since 2011), Carole McAlpine, Susan Knowles and Lindsey Rousseau.

Ewing Foundation Education Consultant, Joyce Sewell Rutter, became the first facilitator of Burwood Park in 2008. Her development and promotional work for Burwood Park Foundation has included supporting:

  • Children and young people with complex needs in special schools
  • Deaf children and young people with Down syndrome
  • Children and young people with CHARGE association
  • Deafness and autistic spectrum conditions, including:
  • Special Interest Groups, in association with the British Association of Teachers of Deaf Children and Young People (BATOD)
  • Contributing to the MESH Guide for Autism and Deafness
  • Collaborative work with National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) providing information for families
  • A technology loan scheme
  • Training in the use of ‘Clicker’ and recommendations for use of relevant listening, reading, writing and communication apps
  • Responding to requests for support and information from teachers in schools and colleges and families
  • Workshops and conferences for professionals and families in a variety of regions and settings

Teachers have reported that one of the real benefits of Burwood Park’s support is the time spent in discussion, and the ability to focus in detail on the learning style and needs of the individual child or young person.

Staff and families always appreciate the visits and have said it gives them confidence to know that no one is an expert, especially where deafness is combined with additional special educational needs.


The future of the Burwood Park Foundation

Joyce retired in 2022 after an amazing 50 years in deaf education. Find out more.

‘Thank you Joyce for steering the Burwood ship with such style and care!’ said Ewing Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Armstrong.

We look forward to continuing Joyce’s important work into the future, delivering it as part of the Ewing Foundation. Please Contact Us to find out more about how we can support your work with deaf children and young people who have additional learning needs. View our latest training opportunities here.