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Gedney Hill and Shepeau Stow school pupils sign in alternative music lessons run by Spalding's Act II

School children in Shepeau Stow and Gedney Hill are adding another string to their bow through alternative music lessons.

Due to the pandemic, youngsters at Shepeau Stow Primary and Gedney Hill CofE Schools are currently unable to sing aloud for all to hear so, instead, they are learning to perform through the medium of sign language.

With the help of Karl Gernert, director of Spalding based theatre company Act II, pupils in Years 2 to 6 in Gedney Hill and Years 3 to 6 in Shepeau Stow have already learned a number of signs as part of their new lessons.

Youngsters from another school sign 'Somewhere only we know' by Keane. (43150143)
Youngsters from another school sign 'Somewhere only we know' by Keane. (43150143)

Karl said: “It’s really taken off in the schools as it’s really a way to keep the children active and creative while learning a new skill.

“Taking away singing and sharing instruments when it comes to music lessons really rips it from under our feet so I needed to find a way of getting round music lessons without singing or sharing instruments which is how I came up with the idea.

“In fact, it’s really good for them as British Sign Language counts as a modern language, so the children are learning an addition language which will further equip them in life.

Karl Gernert has been teaching pupils at Friday Bridge School to sing using sign language. (43150401)
Karl Gernert has been teaching pupils at Friday Bridge School to sing using sign language. (43150401)


Show will go on for Spalding based theatre company

“There’s also a number of children who struggle to communicate for a variety of reasons so this is also really helpful in that respect, as well as raising awareness.

“As part of the work I have done with Sense in Pinchbeck I have picked up a little bit of signing and now I’m also taking classes in order to gain my level one. It’s not only been an education for the children, but it’s also been one for me too!”

Alison Buddle, who is executive head at both schools, said: “The children absolutely love it!

“Obviously, we can’t sing at the moment but through Karl’s idea of sign language we are still getting getting music into the curriculum instead of reducing it solely to maths and English.

“Through this they are learning a new skill while still including music and we’re hoping we can continue in the future as well as it’s really hooked the children in.”

Karl has also been teaching the Act II choir sign language, as they are unable to sing as part of their meets, which are on hold due to the national lockdown.

However, due to the restrictions in place they are continuing their signing via Zoom.

Karl said: “When the choir was allowed to return to the studio back in September we split the group so that we were all able to socially distance.

“They’ve all really been getting in to the signing and it’s been a fun little project we hope we can continue in the future.

“Hopefully we will be able to get back together soon but, in the meantime, this is working really well for us and it’s keeping me on my toes too.”

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