Should all children be taught sign language? Why this Ipswich school thinks so
- Credit: Lauren De Boise
A school in Ipswich has decided to teach sign language to all its pupils - in a bid to “overcome the hidden state of inequality that exists in the deaf community”.
Traditionally most people do not learn sign language unless they need to communicate regularly with a deaf person, or having hearing difficulties themselves.
But Parkside Academy in Ipswich has challenged this, saying deaf communities are "separated by widespread misunderstanding and social inequality".
The Raedwald Trust school believes that if more people know sign language, whether they are deaf or not, the easier it will be for people hard of hearing to communicate with everyone.
As such it has appointed experienced British Sign Language (BSL) teacher George Andronic to teach lessons to all of its 11 to 16-year-old pupils, following a successful two-month trial.
You may also want to watch:
Angela Ransby, chief executive of the Raedwald Trust, said: "BSL is a beautiful, dynamic, visual language that requires people to use their hands, bodies and faces to express themselves.
"This makes it particularly relevant at the Raedwald Trust, where many of our pupils find it challenging to identify and express their opinions and their emotions.
- 1 These are the neighbourhoods in Suffolk where Covid rates are still rising
- 2 Martlesham man caught with indecent images for second time
- 3 New Aldi store takes shape near Morrisons in Ipswich
- 4 People 'losing patience' with neighbours who flout Covid rules, police say
- 5 Ipswich woman who was 'too big' to operate on loses 8 stone after health scare
- 6 Parents 'distraught' after teenage boy is violently assaulted in Chantry
- 7 Snow could hit Suffolk as overnight temperatures set to plunge
- 8 When Anita Dobson visited Ipswich - and more 1980s pub memories
- 9 Could a change in bus services help keep passengers moving post-Covid?
- 10 Matchday Recap: Town lose as McGuinness puts through his own net
"Introducing our pupils to BSL means not only giving them new skills in an official modern language - it also gives them the opportunity to make a difference in a world where deaf and hearing communities are separated by widespread misunderstanding and social inequality.
"Deafness is a communication barrier, not a disability. If every young person had the chance to learn to sign, we could break down these obstacles and overcome the hidden state of inequality that exists in the deaf community."
The move comes as education minister Nick Gibb confirmed government plans to introduce a BSL GCSE as soon as possible.
Ms Ransby praised Mr Andronic as an "excellent and experienced teacher".
She added: "As with any language, when you learn sign language you're entering another world with its own history and culture.
"George embodies all of this, and for me that is why he's the ideal person for the job."
The Raedwald Trust provides education for children and young people who are unable to attend mainstream schools in Suffolk because of their medical or mental health needs, or because they have been excluded from their permanent education provision.