Learn BSL on March 18th

​Thousands of children across the UK will be able to learn 11 basic phrases in British Sign Language thanks to a video created by a national charity.

On March 18th 2014, thousands of deaf people across the UK will celebrate the 11th anniversary of British Sign Language (BSL) being recognised as an official language in its own right.

National charity and the UK’s leading awarding body in deaf communication qualifications, Signature, is marking this day by calling for school teachers to take fifteen minutes out of their day to teach students 11 basic BSL signs. The charity has created a short video demonstrating 11 key words and phrases and has freely distributed it to schools across the UK.

Signature says that with one in every six people in the UK experiencing some form of hearing loss it is vital that more children learn basic BSL at school to bring about social inclusion within our communities.

Jim Edwards, Chief Executive of Signature, said, “Many teachers feel that BSL is only important to teach if they have deaf students in their class or school but what about encouraging students to communicate with deaf people or children in their local and wider community?

“BSL is not only a language for deaf people. It is an important communication tool for those who are able to hear too. Learning BSL is a journey into another culture and has a positive social and economic impact on both hearing and deaf people as everyone is able to freely communicate with each other and no one is isolated.”

Signature hopes both teachers and students find the BSL video they have created fun and informative and crucially they hope it makes educational providers realise their responsibility to urge their students to engage with deaf people, currently one of the UK’s largest disability groups.

Edwards said: “At this time of year, schools are deciding which courses to run in the following academic year and we are calling for them to offer BSL as part of their curriculum in order to make a positive difference in society.”

BSL enables deaf children to study a formal qualification in their native language and studies have shown that a physical learning approach helps children across the board to learn together.

With more than 30 years’ experience, Signature offers schools and colleges guidance on how to get started delivering their Signature Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in BSL and information on deaf awareness and other methods of deaf communication.

They also provide a training programme to support continuing professional development which includes free assessment and curriculum training and a wealth of free teacher resources. Signature works with both deaf people and hearing people to ensure they provide high quality, Ofqual accredited qualifications, many of which are eligible for funding.

Signature’s vision is to create a fully accessible society by encouraging people to learn BSL and undertake Signature’s Ofqual accredited Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications.

Visit Signature’s website to stream Signature’s 11 BSL phrases www.signature.org.uk/eleven-signs

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