Ausnew Home Care | NSW schools able to provide Auslan classes to students from next year

NSW schools able to provide Auslan classes to students from next year

disability Disability Employment Services disability law disability stereotypes intellectual disability Living With a Disability NDIS NDIS Aged Care Approved no ‘dis’ in disability. Seeing the ability in disability umbrella of disability

From next year, schools across New South Wales will have the option of providing Auslan classes to students from kindergarten to Year 10.

It is the first time Australia's national sign language has been included as a syllabus in NSW and is part of a broader curriculum review currently being undertaken by the state government.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell described it as a "big step forward" in inclusive education.

"Auslan is a great national language, one that we should be proud of and encouraging in our schools," she said.

"We've got more than 30 languages that are available for students to study … but one really obvious omission was Auslan."

Strathfield South High School in Sydney's inner-west provides specialised classes for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. It will be among the first to introduce the syllabus into classrooms.

a woman standing outdoors smiling
Ms Coonan says students will start learning Auslan in Year 7.(ABC News: Ruby Cornish)

Deputy principal Danielle Coonan said many of them had never accessed structured Auslan lessons.

"For many of our students, Auslan is their first language, so to be able to formally study that at school is incredible … to support them socially, to support their access to the deaf community," she said.

"We're hoping to start with our Year 7 students, so as soon as they enter the school they start learning Auslan. I think we will have a big uptake."

Year 9 student Andy Chen, who is hard of hearing, said he was pleased that his peers would have an opportunity to sign.

"It's good to learn Auslan because when you meet some people who have hearing loss you can sign and they can understand," he said.

a young student sitting down looking
Andy welcomes the idea that fellow students will know how to sign.(ABC News)

Some schools already teach Auslan as a School Developed Board Endorsed Course, which they must design themselves when the needs of their students cannot be accommodated.

But Paul Martin from the NSW's Education Standards Authority (NESA) said the deaf community had been calling for Auslan to be included as a language option in schools for many years.

Speaking through an interpreter, Strathfield High School learning support officer Clint Branson said learning Auslan at a young age would help deaf and people who are hard of hearing later in life.

"After school, they'll be able to get involved in the deaf community and deaf social events, so it will be very worthwhile for them," he said.

a man standing outside and smiling
Mr Branson says learning Auslan early will have long-lasting benefits for students.(ABC News: Ruby Cornish)

Ms Coonan said everybody, young and old alike, should make the effort to learn a little Auslan if they could.

"I'm learning myself, I'm doing my Certificate II so I'm slowly getting some words. I'm loving it," she said.

Older Post Newer Post