Eastbury Primary School bridges deafness divide

PUBLISHED: 09:21 09 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:12 16 June 2015

The Mayor of Barking and Dagenham Cllr Elizabeth Kangethe, visits deaf pupils at Eastbury Primary School

The Mayor of Barking and Dagenham Cllr Elizabeth Kangethe, visits deaf pupils at Eastbury Primary School


In a move to meet a “significant increase” of severe hearing impairment in pupils, the council will fund sign language learning at Eastbury Primary School from this year’s summer term.

It will be the borough’s second additional resource provision, joining one at Five Elms Primary School.

Majella Williams, head of deaf provision at Eastbury Primary School, said she wants Barking and Dagenham to help promote a wider use of sign language.

The council has agreed to fund £10,000 per place at the school in a borough where the number of deaf pupils has risen from 100 in 2007 to 120 in 2015.

“I would like Barking and Dagenham to try to be the first sign language-inclusive borough,” she said. “Deaf people are the most invisible and left-out when we talk.

“If the rest of the world could sign then they wouldn’t be disabled – even if you only learn a little, any sign is better then no sign.

“I do 15 minutes a week in assembly signing and singing songs and run after-school classes.”

Majella said some of her pupils reached level one in six weeks of hour-long tutorials, despite standard level one courses being a year of weekly two-hour classes.

And she thinks that’s good news for hearing children too, as it bridges divides in a school with more than 50 languages spoken.

“Sign language inclusion helps everyone,” she said. “I would like to see people learning sign language as a second language – it’s the fourth most popular language in the UK.

“And research shows children under two years old who sign are calmer and don’t have as many tantrums.

“It’s because they can negotiate and communicate.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell said funding was a great move for the cabinet to make and praised the school’s progress.

“I think it’s great we’re doing this,” he said. “Funding is a formality if the learning is already there.”

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories


Lakeside Hammers boss Will Pottinger has warned his team about the “unknown quantity” patch-up Peterborough side for their crunch play-off semi-final decider.


Bostik North: AFC Sudbury 1 Barking 1

Barking and Dagenham’s best GCSE students were recognised at an awards ceremony.


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

The Spurs manager admitted his team suffered ‘a little bit more’ than he would have liked during today’s derby with West Ham

Yesterday, 17:25

FA Cup fourth qualifying round: Boreham Wood 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 2

The Hammers huffed and puffed but couldn’t beat Hugo Lloris

Yesterday, 13:56

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been discussing various topics with Layth Yousif during his exclusive interview this week. The talented 26-year-old invited Layth to his house for an in-depth discussion on a wide-ranging number of issues as the star prepares to launch his first soccer school at the end of this month. Read on for more...


Everest Estates stress-free service guarantees a fixed income for your East London or Essex property every month, even if no one is currently living there. Here they talk about the scheme and explain how it can help you dodge common letting headaches.

Barking and Dagenham is home to Better Extreme, London’s largest indoor skatepark. Whatever your discipline, be it skateboarding, inline, BMX or scootering, there’s a challenge waiting for you.

Barking Sporthouse has a wide range of fun things to do with your children this summer

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now