Promising signs

In his latest column, Paul Everitt from Love Your Doorstep praises an Enfield school for leading the way in teaching British sign language

BSL Act Now Rally in Trafalgar Square (credit Paul Everitt)
BSL Act Now Rally in Trafalgar Square (credit Paul Everitt)

We can all make a difference if we are able to raise our voice.

The UK took an important step towards greater equality on Friday, 18th March when MPs unanimously voted to pass the British Sign Language (BSL) Act through its third reading in parliament.

The law is a great example of cross-party working for the benefit of the community, but more importantly a tribute to the people who have tirelessly campaigned over 142 years since the discriminatory resolutions passed at the Second International Congress on Education of the
Deaf, held in Milan in 1880, declaring that sign language should be banned.

This led to the widespread suppression of sign language in many deaf schools throughout the world, including the UK.

Bucking that trend, thanks to inspirational leadership and teaching staff, all children at Brimsdown Primary School in Enfield are being taught BSL. It is a beautiful model of inclusivity that leaves no-one behind.

I was so lucky to be introduced to the ground-breaking work of the school by The Guardian journalist and Enfield resident Aditya Chakrabortty. As a child he didn’t have role models from his background who were writers to support and inspire him and he asked Anthony Fisher if Enfield Poets might be able to provide that to a new generation, alongside such a forward-thinking school.

This planted the seed that would grow into a project with the poet Cheryl Moskowitz supporting the school’s children to create a new poem written in
BSL.

As the third reading of the BSL bill was passing through parliament, the children of Brimsdown Primary School recited their poem to the huge crowd gathered in Trafalgar Square to mark this historic moment. They raised their voice demanding a better future for all children.

They demanded: “BSL Act now!”

For more details about the project:
Visit
enfieldpoets.com

Find out more about the BSL Act:
Visit
bda.org.uk/bsl-act-now