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British Sign Language has finally made an appearance on the curriculum! Suffolk primary school are one of the first to make it happen.

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British Sign Language Curriculum replaces French and Spanish at Suffolk Primary School

British Sign Language has finally made an appearance on the curriculum! Suffolk primary school are one of the first to make it happen. What fantastic progress that is for not only all primary school students but for anyone who struggles with hearing loss or are d/Deaf. This inclusivity is the kind of thing we have all been waiting for in the deaf community. Such great news for our fellow customers and everyone it concerns!

Earlier last week, ITV News announced that Elm Tree Primary Academy, in Lowestoft, Suffolk replaced French and Spanish lessons with basic BSL tutoring. We hope this helps make life a little easier for those who struggle with deafness or hearing loss. And that pupils find this really beneficial to their learning experience. We also believe it opens many great job opportunities for those looking to work with the d/Deaf community.

We’d love to see more of this down the line but believe this to be a breakthrough. To top it off, teachers have said that the children love the new curriculum! We should note that Elm Tree is a specialist resource base for deaf children. And currently four of its pupils have hearing loss. From this, we can understand the need for this school to incorporate BSL into its teachings, but hope that other schools can follow suit. The Headteacher at Elm Tree, Julia Halliday, confirms this by saying: "I think the reason BSL works is because of our young children that have got hearing loss. All of us in the Elm Tree family want to be inclusive with everybody. They're keen about it because it includes their friends."

Elm Tree have incorporated BSL curriculum to help make the school more inclusive, especially given the circumstances of their four pupils who have hearing loss. The idea that their friends want to learn BSL to communicate with them better is so heart-warming and gives us confidence that more schools will follow in the long run.

Former student, Daniel Jillings, who was born deaf, inspired the staff and teachers to act. He fought and campaigned for a wider use of BSL, which paid off. He was able to drive his campaigns to success and made it possible for BSL to be a GCSE subject from 2025.

His mum, Ann Jillings, now teaches BSL to all age groups at Elm Tree - and she says it has proved very popular. She was thrilled when a little girl ran to her while she shopped at Asda one day and signed, 'Good afternoon, Mrs Jillings'. “That was just perfect. That says it all really." Ann had said.

Ann shares her thoughts and says, "Socially, it can be very isolating if they don't have any signing peers, so, for me, it's a dream to see all the hearing peers at a school learning to sign and having that full communication."

And that’s not all! We think Christmas came early, because we read that the school is preparing for its Christmas carol concert, where a sign language choir will perform alongside a singing one. That would be one spectacular show, wouldn’t it?! It sounds like a really great opportunity for primary school students as they can take part and enjoy themselves. Best of luck to everyone learning!

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