Pupils at a Welwyn Garden City primary school are being given the chance to learn British Sign Language (BSL).

Watchlytes Primary School now offers weekly lessons to pupils from Reception to Year 5. Classes are taught by an outreach worker who also educates children about deaf awareness.

Headteacher Nalisha Patel said: "The children have only been learning BSL for a short while and we are already seeing benefits.

"It’s helping them to communicate and fully express themselves and it has improved their social skills by increasing their confidence and self-esteem. 

"We have three pupils at Watchlytes with cochlear implants and they were really happy when the classes started, not just from an inclusivity point of view but also because they felt represented within the school community."


The BSL classes are a new addition to Watchlytes since the school joined Ivy Learning Trust at the end of last year.

Year 2 teacher Katy Miles said the children picked BSL up quickly, adding: "It’s a real time of calm in the classroom and it’s amazing to see the focus on the children’s faces. 

"For our children with additional needs, it’s also been a real boost to their confidence, not just because it improves communication but because it’s accessible for all learners and they’ve been able to enjoy learning a new skill with their classmates."