Ipswich school with 13 deaf children teaches sign language to all
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
An Ipswich school, which teaches the greatest number of deaf children in Suffolk, is taking steps to ensure all their pupils grow up with deaf role models and a positive outlook.
Rushmere Hall Primary School teaches 13 pupils who are deaf and has specially trained teachers of the deaf (ToD) as a specialist resource base, as well as British Sign Language (BSL) clubs and classes.
As part of Deaf Awareness Week from May 3 to 9, the school took part in a county-wide sign language competition organised by the Ipswich Deaf Children's Society (IDCS).
Jo Hughes is a ToD and said: "This week each day a new BSL lesson has gone onto Google Classroom so that children can revisit them with their parents.
"We have also been reading books to explain what it means to be deaf and how hearing aids work, then in assembly the deaf children are explaining things that help them.
"The children are signing to a song from Moana and then the competition will also go on Google Classroom.
"We teach Deaf Studies to show the children deaf role models and the positive parts of being in the deaf community."
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The school works to meet the needs of every deaf pupil, so some will take several lessons with the hearing pupils, and then others with ToD.
Richard Platt, chairman of IDCS, said: "Rushmere Hall Primary School has over the years provided an excellent level of communication support using BSL for all our deaf children, including one of my own.
"This mainstream school has over 650 children incorporate British Sign Language into their everyday classroom learning which is an added skill as they can later on in their lives look back and use their knowledge to support deaf people in the future.
"We at IDCS are truly grateful for what Rushmere Hall School has achieved for our deaf children over the years — the teachers are full of enthusiasm and so supportive towards each deaf child."
Around 10 Suffolk schools took part in the signing competition, including Gusford Primary School in Chantry.