Lythe School to begin BSL lessons as part of curriculum

Alfie Blackwell at Lythe School
Alfie Blackwell at Lythe School

With the government working to introduce British Sign Language (BSL) as an option at GCSE, Lythe School have seized the opportunity to introduce their children to the language.

In a newsletter to parents, headteacher Lisa Armstrong said: "As a school we have now decided to teach BSL as part of the children's learning of modern languages, all classes will participate in lessons with Mrs Summers at some point over the year.

Alfie pictured with Nikki Summers who will be teaching the children BSL and friend Eve Winter

Alfie pictured with Nikki Summers who will be teaching the children BSL and friend Eve Winter

"BSL is a recognised language, and is a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to another culture."

The school is keen to support the subject as one of their pupils, Alfie Blackwell, suffers from Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD), which causes a profound loss of hearing. It’s a complex condition which causes Alfie’s hearing to fluctuate, he can literally hear one minute and not the next.

Earlier this year, Alfie, who has just entered year 4 at the school, featured in the Whitby Gazette when pal Eve Winter studied for and passed her Cued Speech exams.

READ MORE: Lythe School pupil passes adult exam with flying colours

Alfie's mum, Sarah Blackwell, said: "The school have made a great decision to teach BSL as a subject, now hopefully others will follow suit to prepare for GCSE BSL coming in. It's great that they're doing this, we've come a long way and it's like they can't do enough for him. It's brilliant."

Mrs Armstrong said: "It's an exciting thing for us to do, especially as we have a child in school whose first language is BSL. It's important that the other children have the opportunity to learn it as well.

"With the Department of Education hoping to introduce a British Sign Language GCSE in the next couple of years, it's nice for us to be ahead of the game.

"It's a great language with its own structure, syntax and word order. The children are all really enjoying it."