A brand new club for students interested in learning British Sign Language has been set up by Brooke Weston Geography teachers Miss Bishop and Miss Loveday. The club runs every Wednesday after school until 5pm and currently has over 40 students attending each week. British Sign Language (BSL) is the most common form of Sign Language within Britain and was finally recognised by the UK government as an official minority language in 2003. It is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language and is used mainly by people who are deaf or have hearing impairments. So far students have covered the alphabet, numbers, colours and introductions and will move onto topics such as pets, family, food and emotions.
Miss Loveday said, ‘I have always been interested in learning British Sign Language and I began my BSL studies as an extracurricular society at University, I then went on to lead the society and really enjoyed collaborative events where we taught other societies the basics of BSL so I wanted to offer our students a chance to learn too. There has been an amazing turn out each week at the club and that is only growing as people bring their friends along. I also love that we have students from Year 7 to Year 13, it’s lovely to see everyone together.’
Miss Bishop said, ‘My brother is part of the d/Deaf community and so British Sign Language and lip reading has been part of my life as I learned to sign at home. I am currently completing a course through the British Sign Language organisation which is helping me to refresh my skills! When Miss Loveday suggested running this club I thought it was a brilliant opportunity for our students to learn. We have been really pleased with how students have taken to this new skill, their enjoyment and questions during the club have been fantastic. I have especially loved how everyone helps everyone else out. I would encourage anyone who wants to learn BSL to do so. It’s an amazing skill to have and really widens your understanding of the d/Deaf community.’