Reigate Park Primary Academy in Derby has made amazing strides in BSL education by introducing deaf awareness sessions and weekly BSL stories for all children in EYFS and KS1 and formal BSL lessons to all classes across KS2. Even more impressively, since only introducing the course in September 2021, they recently announced that 32 year 5 children have now passed their Level 1 BSL 101 exam! This is a brilliant success for such young students, and a testament to both the teachers and the pupils.
With 395 students, the academy also has Enhanced Resource Facilities for Deaf pupils. The academy’s mixed population of hearing and Deaf students means that it is all the more important to have BSL on the curriculum.
Since the introduction of the BSL curriculum in September 2021, Reigate have seen a rapid growth in the children’s confidence to use BSL to communicate not only within school, but also within the community. Staff have received extremely positive feedback from members of the community who have experienced first hand, pupils using BSL to communicate with them with confidence in social situations. This opportunity will not only set the students up with the foundations of another language for the rest of their life, but it will surely aid the school’s cohesion and inclusivity, improving the ability for all the pupils to socialise, and ensuring that they all receive the same opportunities to learn together.
The academy even has a main page on their website titled “BSL” which provides their students with the resources to assist their learning at home, from fingerspelling alphabets to Deaf Awareness posters, and videos of ERF staff in action.
Lindsay Foster, Executive Director of Signature, said this about the school’s success:
“With the important campaign for a BSL GCSE getting ever closer to fruition, it will become more important than ever before to give young people an opportunity to learn BSL, and Reigate Park Primary have laid the groundwork for this admirably. Not only have they had impressive success from their pupils, but they have given themselves as an Academy a head start on most other schools if the GCSE is soon introduced.
We at Signature would like to congratulate all of the pupils and staff involved for such progressive strides in inclusivity, and for their amazing results! It is excellent to see young people getting curious, involved, and excited about learning sign language.”
To celebrate their achievements, Signature sent a representative down to Derby in July to present the school with their certificates and congratulate both the pupils and staff.