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Magna Carta Primary Academy pupils benefit from unique new sign language

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Children who lack confidence to contribute in class are benefitting from a unique new form of sign language.

Magna Carta Primary Academy, in Stansted, has developed its own system to enable all pupils to give feedback during lessons.

With less confident pupils reluctant to put their hands up in the traditional way, teachers at the primary school decided to find a way to encourage all children to get involved.

Instead of putting their hands up, pupils are now signing to show whether they agree with a statement, disagree with a statement, want to challenge what is being said, want to build on what someone has said or want to share a thought of their own.

Headteacher Marios Solomonides said: “There is lots of research out there about children putting their hands up, saying it allows some children to dominate and others to feel as though they do not matter.

“We are not banning children from putting up their hands, of course. This is simply about ensuring everyone has a voice. It is teaching pupils to debate which is really important as it is about respectful arguing.

“It’s an opportunity for pupils to feed back to each other and to their teachers.”

The new system, which will also be used in assembly to gather views from lots of people at once, has been introduced into Year 2 and is being gradually introduced into Year 1 and Reception.

Mr Solomonides said: “We trialled different ways of giving and receiving feedback and decided on what worked best to create our own feedback policy. This has been developed with the children and they have really taken to it.

“It is working so well in keeping the flow of a lesson and keeping everyone on track. As our school grows, we will continue it through all year groups as it empowers children to agree, disagree or add something else.

“Effective feedback is one of the best ways of maximising progress.”

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