26 September 2023

Auslan Sign Language to say it all at schools

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A new syllabus for teaching the Australian Sign Language (Auslan) in NSW schools for the first time, has been announced under the State’s new Curriculum Reform agenda.

Announced by the Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell, Auslan is to be available for students from Kindergarten to Year 10 from next year along with other updated language syllabuses.

Ms Mitchell said the new syllabuses aimed to improve access to Auslan and increase the uptake in students learning languages.

“NSW offers one of the most comprehensive school languages curriculum in the world and I am committed to exploring how we can make that even better, including for students with disability,” Ms Mitchell said.

“I am pleased to see Auslan included in the curriculum for the first time, not only because it is a great step for inclusion and students with disability, but because it gives all students the opportunity to experience a unique part of Australia’s linguistic history,” she said.

“Studying a language at school gives students the skills to participate in our linguistically dynamic world and improves broader communication and literacy skills.”

Ms Mitchell said a key feature of the Curriculum Reform was the redevelopment of the classical and modern languages syllabuses into frameworks that could cover all languages.

She said the frameworks would enable schools to teach any language without waiting for a specific language syllabus, “broadening the scope of languages that can be taught to include more local community languages”.

“We know that there is a high demand for community languages and the new frameworks will integrate school-developed language courses with a high-quality framework, creating a shared understanding about what students are expected to learn,” the Minister said.

“Teachers will also be provided with improved language-specific support materials to give students a more consistent experience when studying languages.”

Ms Mitchell said that across Kindergarten to Year 12, NSW schools currently taught 34 modern and classical languages and Auslan would be available to study as a first language or an additional language.

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