Posted on: 30th January 2018

Eleven of our Sixth Form students are foregoing their lunchtime break and choosing to spend the time learning British Sign Language with the support of Miss Evans, one of our Sixth Form Academic Coaches.

Within Britain the most common form of Sign Language is called British Sign Language (BSL). BSL has its own grammatical structure and syntax, as a language it is not dependant nor is it strongly related to spoken English. BSL is the preferred language of around 145,000 people within the UK (2011).

The weekly sessions are facilitated by the Sensory Inclusion Service and the programme has been devised to raise awareness of sign language and to promote the deaf community.

Miss Evans, who champions lifelong learning, has taken her learning of BSL to the next level and enrolled at College to ensure students can be offered the chance to learn this valuable and lifelong skill, should they wish to.

One of the sixth form students taking part in this initiative, Natasha Rodrigues was asked to talk about her experiences of the sessions. Natasha said

‘I moved from Portugal in 2015 and then from London to NEW earlier this year. I speak two other languages but have never had the opportunity to learn something like Sign before. I was really keen to do this as Sign language was a new thing for me. Miss Evans asked us if we would be interested and there seemed to be so many new skills that it can provide so I just thought “Why not?” I am finding it so useful, even though it is hard! It’s really interesting and I am learning lots of new things about the deaf community. For example, I didn’t realise deaf people were able to talk and understand words the way hearing people can and Neil, from the Sensory Inclusion Service, showed me how he was able to lip read; I learnt that it was important that I spoke to him in the same way I speak to my friends so that he could lip-read more easily. I have been taught how to communicate with people from the deaf community, and how many different types of hearing impairment there are (for example, Neil is profoundly deaf but wears a hearing aid so he can pick up on some things we say and ‘fill in the gaps’). I also made new friends as a Year 12; the rest of the sign group are Year 13 students, and they really helped me settle into school. I want to use sign to help my community and think it will be a great skill to put on my CV.’

These eleven students are ambassadors for learning and are enhancing the widespread push to complete inclusiveness. Well done Sixth Formers!

Category: Academy news