The Manc - Petition for all schools to teach sign language reaches almost 100,000 signatures"

Petition for all schools to teach sign language reaches almost 100,000 signatures

Sky News

Almost 100,000 people have signed a petition for all schools to teach basic sign language to children.

The campaign was launched by an 18-year-old from Heywood, Greater Manchester, who saw first hand how sign language can change people's lives for the better.

Jade Kilduff started the petition just over a month ago after seeing how sign language transformed the life of her younger brother, who has brain damage, cerebral palsy, and visual impairment.

Christian, four, had struggles at birth and his parents were told he would never be able to communicate, so Jade spent two years teaching him sign language.

Speaking to Sky News, Jade said: "Christian communicates by using sign language and a lot of people when talking to Christian would have to talk through me.

"And I thought it was unfair that he could only communicate to me and a few of our family members and I thought if everybody just knew a little bit of sign then it would make the world more inclusive."

Diana Kilduff

Very few Brit schools teach sign language, and with 12 million people in the UK suffering from hearing loss, and 50,000 children with hearing impairments, is it time schools introduced signing?

On her petition, Jade states: "Hundreds of thousands of children here in the UK use sign language or signing systems to aid communication. When you add into the equation their family and friends, these numbers run into millions.

"I strongly believe that if all primary schools and early years settings promote a sign of the day/week children will learn the basic word signs.

"If all children were taught sign language at school, it would make the world a less lonely place for people like my brother."

Sky News

At the time of writing, 96,763 people have signed the petition to 'make it compulsory for all schools and early years to teach basic signing', which has prompted a Department for Education spokesperson to respond.

They told Sky News: "We are firmly committed to ensuring that children with SEND (special educational needs and disability), including hearing impairments, receive the support they need in early years, at school and at college.

"Schools have the freedom to include British Sign Language (BSL) in their curriculum if they wish to do so, and we are working towards a BSL GCSE which will be introduced as soon as it possible, subject to meeting GCSE requirements."

You can sign Jade's petition here.

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