British Sign Language at Langley Mill Academy
'Sign language is a dance with words to be enjoyed from babyhood through childhood to adulthood.' Marilyn Daniels.
It is estimated that over one hundred and fifty thousand people use British Sign Language in Britain, including over eighty thousand deaf people. Communicating with our friends and peers is so important that we want to give all pupils at Langley Mill Academy the opportunity to learn British Sign Language (BSL). Therefore we intend our BSL curriculum to teach young learners to communicate with Deaf people in British Sign Language (BSL) on a range of topics that involve simple, everyday language use. It has been designed using the BSL101 – Introduction to British Sign Language (Young People)
Unit BSL101 (Young People) is designed to provide a nationally accredited unit of BSL skills for young people who attend Deaf or mainstream schools and/or have contact with Deaf staff or colleagues. These may be as school friends, youth workers, member of staff, relatives, or any member of the general public. Unit BSL101 (Young People) can be taken without any previous BSL experience at any level. This unit allows young learners to gain basic competence. N.B this unit has been developed to give basic BSL skills to children and is suitable for those under 16.
Qualification objectives. At the end of the unit, learners will be able to:
- understand and use a limited range of simple relevant words and sentences in BSL
- take part in simple, everyday conversations in BSL
- give and follow simple directions or instructions in BSL
- give and follow simple familiar statements or descriptions in BSL.
Qualification Specification: https://www.signature.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/BSL1-v1.00.pdf
Young person qualification: https://www.signature.org.uk/docs/unit_specifications2018-19/BSL101YP-v1.00.pdf
Learning BSL not only enables them to communicate with their peers (deaf of hearing) it also allows them to communicate with wider members of the school and local community. BSL and SSE (Sign Supported English) also provide a visual/pictorial representation of our wider curriculum. Children understand the needs of their peers who are deaf or hearing impaired so that they can communicate clearly in everyday situations.
Every child at Langley Mill Academy is taught BSL weekly for half an hour. Their classrooms display signs in both BSL and SSE and whereas SSE is used within general teaching, pupils learn the sentence structure of BSL in dedicated lessons. BSL is taught by teachers and teaching assistants who have a qualification in BSL. Other class teachers and teaching assistants learn BSL alongside their class so that they are able to use signs around school as non-verbal clues. Children learn the vocabulary associated with our three themes of Values, Journeys and Origins as well as wider signs that support conversations such as numbers, colours, greetings, animals etc. Deaf awareness is also taught alongside BSL.
The children at Langley Mill Academy can communicate in more than one language. They have a basis to develop their skills which many continue at our High School including taking their level one qualification in year 8 or 9.
When asked children are able to talk about and show off their BSL skills and knowledge. They can peer assess and given suggestions on how to improve each other’s signing skills. They also recognise signs that support learning in class across the wider curriculum and through the school day.
Our BSL leads are Mrs Pappa and Mrs Connellan.