Seashell Trust

Seashell Trust (formerly Royal Schools for the Deaf) is a charity in Stockport, Greater Manchester, for children, young people and adults with sensory impairment, profound and multiple learning difficulties, and profound communication difficulties. It is the oldest deaf children's charity in North West England and operates Royal School Manchester and Royal College Manchester, as well as children and adult care and residential homes including a supported tenancy.[citation needed]

Seashell Trust
Seashell Trust.JPG
Stanley Road


Established1823; 199 years ago (1823)
FoundersRobert Phillips and William Bateman
Local authorityStockport
Department for Education URN106166 Tables
ChairChris Smale
Head of Royal SchoolEmma Houldcroft
Acting Chief Executive OfficerBrandon Leigh
Staffapprox. 500 (whole Trust)
Age2 to 25
Enrolment109 (and rising)


The Trust's special school is called Royal School Manchester, the Trust's independent specialist college [ISC] is Royal College Manchester. In addition, the Trust also operates ten adult care homes and seven children's homes.[citation needed]


The original school was established in 1823 by Robert Phillips, a Manchester merchant, with the assistance of fellow merchant William Bateman. It attained its royal status by Queen Victoria in 1897, and the current queen is its patron. It first opened in Salford in 1825, with 14 children, but it was soon deemed necessary to move to a larger site, this time to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Old Trafford, which opened on 21 June 1837.[citation needed]

It remained there until 1956 when a new campus was built in Cheadle Hulme. The school in Trafford remained open until 1982 and the charity now operates solely from the one site.[1] The name was changed to Seashell Trust in 2008 because the former one (Royal Schools for the Deaf) was "misleading", according to governors.[2]

In 2020, the Trust sold the green belt land it owned adjoining the school to housing developer Bloor Homes.[3]

Deafness impairmentEdit

The reference to deafness in the name of the school had become obsolete because an increasing number of the students enrolled had communication difficulties but were normally hearing. In particular, the Seashell Trust had developed considerable expertise in working with normally hearing autistic students. The deaf students now admitted by Seashell all have very complex additional needs, including visual impairments, physical difficulties and low general ability.[citation needed]


The Seashell Trust as a charity is effectively the parent body of the former Royal School for the Deaf and Communication Disorders. In changing the name of the school, it was decided to make a clear distinction between its school and its college (which occupy different parts of the campus). It was also decided to remove the reference to disability in the name. The school accepts students from preschool through to 19 years. The college runs a three-year programme, usually commencing when a student is 19 years old.


  1. ^ "History". Seashell Trust. Retrieved 9 January 2009.[dead link]
  2. ^ "New name for historic deaf school". Manchester Evening News. Guardian Media Group. 12 November 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
  3. ^ Seashell sells land to fund special needs school, Place North West, 8 June 2020

External linksEdit