News & Updates

British Sign Language at the Raedwald Trust

Following a successful two-month trial, the Raedwald Trust has appointed an experienced British Sign Language (BSL) teacher to teach the language to its secondary age pupils.

The Trust hopes that the unique move to teach BSL to ‘hearing’ pupils will break down barriers with deaf and hard of hearing communities – making communication accessible to all. It will also give pupils a practical skill for life.

BSL teacher George Andronic has been brought on board to deliver the lessons. George has been teaching deaf pupils for over a decade, can read and write in eight languages and sign in seven. He also created a BSL Primary Curriculum for deaf children from scratch as part of his Masters degree and now runs his own company: Home Tuition for the Deaf.

George said: “At the start of BSL sessions in September the pupils and I found it challenging to communicate because we belong to different worlds, however, we gradually built up our rapports and broke down our barriers to communication. The pupils gradually expressed themselves, which was difficult for them, by maintaining eye contact and using slight facial expressions.

“The pupils have responded well to my lessons by engaging well in varied activities, such as conversations, and practising their fingerspelling, which is challenging for them, and conversation in pairs.

“The language is important for the Parkside Academy pupils because this enables them to express themselves by sharing their experiences and developing their communicational skills.

“BSL is an emotive / expressive and rich language that encourages pupils and people to communicate freely with each other and deaf students and adults as well.”

The Ipswich Star recently reported on how British Sign Language is being taught at Parkside Academy, part of the Raedwald Trust.

In the article, 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.

“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.”

To read the full article from the Ipswich Star, click here.