Sir Frederick Gibberd College to teach Latin and Sign Language

Young people are learning the art of communication.

ALONGSIDE French, students at Sir Frederick Gibberd College, in Harlow, have the unique opportunity to expand their knowledge through Latin and sign language.

A group of 32 students have picked Latin as an additional language to learn, while 18 are attending an extra-curricular class to gain a Level 1 qualification in British Sign Language.

Headteacher Dee Conlon said: “Very few state schools teach Latin these days. Languages are really important as they help us to understand other cultures and create a more accepting society.

“In school, languages help students to improve their English grammar. Latin, in particular, is found in so many other subjects, so for our children who want to go into science, maths, history, geography, languages or sport, it is a good base to have.

“Language is not just about the spoken word and we want to be inclusive, which is why we have also introduced British Sign Language. It is wonderful to watch students in lessons where they are not allowed to speak and must use sign language the whole time.

“They are thoroughly enjoying it.”

Cheryl Campbell is teaching Latin and history at the new school, which opened in September. She said: “The hope is that Latin will help to deepen students’ understanding and knowledge of the English language, but also their understanding of culture more widely as so much they learn in classics links in with everything else they are learning in school.

“The children are amazing; we have got some wonderful classicists.”

Ibrahim Sanyang is learning Latin. He said: “I was interested in it because I am keen to learn more languages, so that later on in life if I see something in Latin I will understand it. I think it will help me in the future.”

Khimani Dzimati is also learning Latin and said: “By learning Latin, we will understand texts in future when we take our GCSEs. I find it really interesting to see the structure that was used in sentences back then.”

Marcus Krencius has signed up to learn British Sign Language and said: “My mum works with people who are deaf and so lots of people she works with use sign language. I have been showing my mum what I have been learning and she has been impressed.”

Classmate Joshua Leh said: “I find sign language interesting. I wanted to learn it in case I see someone who is deaf in future, so I can communicate with them.”

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