North West Wales

Children to learn sign language through Welsh

Sign language by Mudiad Meithrin

A new project has been launched which aims to teach sign language to young children through the medium of Welsh.

The scheme, run by Mudiad Meithrin and funded by Bangor University, is the first to teach British Sign Language (BSL) through Welsh rather than English.

It will introduce one word per week in Welsh and BSL which will be shown to as many as 12,500 children under four.

The Welsh Government said 85% of deaf children do not have special care.

Mudiad Meithrin (which means "nursery movement") is a voluntary organisation which aims to provide Welsh-medium early-years education.

The programme, with support from Bangor University's Widening Access Centre, also aims to make signing in Welsh a "modern" language on the Welsh Joint Education Committee's GCSE, AS and A2 syllabus.

However, there are concerns over the number of qualified deaf-signing teachers and that 85% of the 3,272 deaf children in mainstream schools do not have special educational provisions available to them.

Delyth Murphy, director of the university's Widening Access Centre, said it was a "privilege" to be involved in the "unique ground-breaking project".

The scheme was launched on Wednesday.

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