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WATCH: Pupils have their ‘Greatest Day’ as school performs Take That hit for deaf charity fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 17:14 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:58 07 February 2019

Year 1 teacher Kirsty Ponder, 28, organised the Sign2Sing day at Toftwood Infant and Junior School on Thursday. Photo: Neil Didsbury

Year 1 teacher Kirsty Ponder, 28, organised the Sign2Sing day at Toftwood Infant and Junior School on Thursday. Photo: Neil Didsbury

Archant

For many of us, sitting cross-legged singing in school assemblies was a part of our childhoods we remember fondly.

But for three deaf children at a Dereham school, Thursday was their greatest day, as they got the chance to experience all of their classmates singing along in their language - as the school marked a deaf health awareness day.

Pupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School in Dereham took part in a sign language event that saw groups up and down the country join in.

The school participated in annual national fundraiser Sign2sing, organised by Year 1 teacher Kirsty Ponder, who teaches two girls with hearing impairments in her class.

Mrs Ponder, 28, said: “I’ve got two girls in my class who are deaf - one who wears a cochlear implant and one who wears a hearing aid.

Pupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil DidsburyPupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil Didsbury

“The idea is the children come together to learn sign language, perform and raise some money.”

Pupils from nursery to Year 6 age took part in the event, on Thursday, February 7, which saw the school raise funds for deaf health charity SignHealth, with pupils giving 50p or £1 donations.

Groups from the junior and infant schools signed the lyrics to Take That’s 2008 number one hit, Greatest Day, in their assemblies.

And Mrs Ponder said: “We try to use sign language as much as we can in our school, in our Christmas performances and singing assemblies.

Year 1 pupils Ruby, who wears hearing aids, left, and Isobel, who has a cochlear implant, right, took part in the charity fundraiser. Photo: Neil DidsburyYear 1 pupils Ruby, who wears hearing aids, left, and Isobel, who has a cochlear implant, right, took part in the charity fundraiser. Photo: Neil Didsbury

“We have a teacher of the deaf who comes in and helps us to support the girls in school.

“Signing a whole song was a big step up for them and they really enjoyed it. We’ve practiced for two or three weeks.”

She added: “It’s definitely important for them to learn that all people are different and we each have different strengths and weaknesses.

“They just see each other as children. It’s nice to explain to them sign language helps people, and it’s a language all of its own.”

Year 2 teacher Kelsey Thompson with pupils in assembly at Toftwood Infant and Junior School. Photo: Neil DidsburyYear 2 teacher Kelsey Thompson with pupils in assembly at Toftwood Infant and Junior School. Photo: Neil Didsbury

SignHealth chief executive James Watson-O’Neill said: “We are so grateful to everyone at Toftwood Infant and Junior School.

“Sign2sing is great at bringing hearing and deaf people together - and that’s exactly what happened.

“Not only is it a fun event but it raises vital funds to improve the health of deaf people. Just £10 provides a deaf child with accessible information about healthy relationships.

“Our huge thanks to Year 1 teacher Kirsty Ponder for helping make the event such a success.”

Pupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil DidsburyPupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil Didsbury

SignHealth was founded in 1986 as the Anastasia Trust, and relaunched as Sign in 1991. In 2005, the charity was renamed SignHealth, and offers a range of services, projects and support to improve the health and wellbeing of Deaf people.

Pupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil DidsburyPupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil Didsbury

Pupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil DidsburyPupils at Toftwood Infant and Junior School took part in national Sign2Sing day on Thursday. Photo: Neil Didsbury

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