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West Norfolk Deaf Association is offering free school workshop to prepare for new British Sign Language GCSE

A West Norfolk charity is offering a free workshop to schools to prepare for the arrival of a new GCSE.

Every school in the district, across all ages, has been invited to the West Norfolk Deaf Association’s British Sign Language (BSL) in Schools workshop. It will take place this Friday (January 19) at its headquarters on Railway Road in Lynn.

British Sign Language will be added to the national curriculum from September 2025.

WNDA offers free school workshop. Picture: iStock
WNDA offers free school workshop. Picture: iStock

The workshop is aimed at leaders, teachers, and staff, and will include sessions on British Sign Language and how it can enhance existing curriculums – as well as the sharing of resources and a special session for BSL at primary and nursery stages.

Anna Pugh, association manager, said introducing BSL to mainstream curriculums is a fantastic step forward, and that she does not want teachers to feel overwhelmed by another subject when her group is available to help.

“The workshop will be informal and flexible, and we are keen for as many people to attend in person as possible,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity for us to make a real difference in communicating with each other and it brings a whole new level of inclusiveness.

“We want to help schools who might currently have limited knowledge of BSL and hope they will all embrace the new GCSE.”

Anna said BSL was officially recognised as a language in the UK in 2022, and pupils will be able to learn it while also understanding the importance of including everyone, whatever their level of hearing.

The introduction of BSL means specialist teachers may have to be recruited, but the charity can support schools as well as signpost BSL qualification courses which are held at its centre.

The British Deaf Association estimates around 151,000 people use BSL in this country, and it is the first language for people who are profoundly affected.

There was a surge in interest following the Strictly Come Dancing success of actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who has been deaf since birth.

WNDA offers a range of services for the profoundly deaf and those with acquired hearing loss in the district, including services for young people.

These range from a monthly breakout club to a swimming club for deaf children, run by Oli Kenny – a qualified coach who is also deaf and fully conversant in BSL.

There is also a sensory and sign playgroup which is designed for parents with deaf babies and pre-school children.

For more information about the BSL in schools workshop, contact the WNDA on 01553 773399 or email info@wnda.org.uk

The session will also be available on Zoom, so contact the charity for joining details.

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