Reigate Park Primary Academy Pupils Sign for The High Sheriff of Derbyshire’s Cathedral Service

Reigate Park Primary Academy Pupils Sign for The High Sheriff of Derbyshire’s Cathedral Service

Pupils from Reigate Park Primary Academy were invited to participate in The High Sheriff of Derbyshire’s Legal Service last week at Derby Cathedral, with two children from the school using British Sign Language (BSL) to sign a prayer for the whole congregation.   

The High Sheriff, Theresa Peltier, was full of praise for the children saying: “Reigate Park Primary Academy pupils did a fantastic job at the Legal Service; they were amazing.  Feedback from the service has been incredible, with some attendees citing the delivery of the prayer by Reigate pupils and others as the most moving part of the service.  I received a personal letter from one of the High Court judges who described it as 'inspirational' and 'profoundly moving.'  The children encapsulated my theme of ‘Unity is Community' and I know that was felt by the whole congregation.  The children’s families, school and community should be very proud of them.” 

Nieve (age 10) said: “At first, I was nervous, but once I started signing, I enjoyed it.  I loved meeting the High Sheriff!” 

Derbyshire has the largest deaf community outside London, with over 400 people using British Sign Language as their first language.  Reigate Park Primary Academy is part of The Harmony Trust and provides Enhanced Resources for up to twelve deaf pupils, provided by the local authority.  All children at Reigate Park study BSL and almost all gain their BSL level 101 qualification before they leave the school.   Sally Harrison, Assistant Principal said: “All our pupils value the BSL element of the curriculum as it helps them to develop vital skills which they can use on a day-to-day basis and throughout their lives.”  

Karen Ratcliff, Principal of Reigate Park added: “We are so proud of the children who took part.  Many adults would struggle to stand in front of so many people as Sienna and Nieve did; they showed composure beyond their years.  Both children are Reigate British Sign Language Ambassadors. At Reigate Park, we place great emphasis on developing confident, resilient and happy children no matter what barriers they may face.  The children did a fantastic job in demonstrating this at Derby Cathedral.”  

The High Sheriff has invited pupils and staff from Reigate Park to future events to promote British Sign Language and strengthen community links. 

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