By Katie Parry
A sign-language event that aims to discourage bullying took place on Monday at Liverpool Cathedral.
The event, organised by Knotty Ash Primary School Deaf Resource Base, saw 10 Liverpool schools join them at the Cathedral to sign in British Sign Language along to ‘No Matter What’ by BoyZone. Nine were primary schools, and one was a secondary school.
Adults from Liverpool Singing Choir also attended.
The project was part of a collaboration with BullyBustersUK. Staff from Knotty Ash Primary contacted schools about the idea, shared the idea with BullyBusters, and sent out a video of them signing ‘No Matter What’ back in June 2021.
Roanne Clements-Bedson, headteacher at Knotty Ash Primary School, said: “Over the last few months, more and more schools throughout Liverpool and beyond have been rehearsing a signed song to raise awareness of the damage that bullying does and to share a positive message of strength and solidarity.
“The purpose was to send a strong and united message to our children that no-one should ever make them feel unhappy or hurt, no-one should damage their confidence or self-belief and they should always seek help and support from someone they trust.
“The Boyzone song, No Matter What, was translated into BSL by our staff here, and a beautiful rendition of it was recorded and shared with other schools so that they could rehearse.
“The team here have been offering outreach support with some of the trickier signs and sharing awareness of deafness and inclusion.
“Due to Covid restrictions, we’ve had to limit the numbers attending the Celebration Event in Anti-Bullying Week.”
Many more schools from Liverpool and beyond shared their performances on social media. Schools in places as far away as Wakefield and Jersey got involved.
Ms Clements-Bedson was overjoyed with how the project turned out.
She said: “I found the whole event very moving. After so long apart, it was especially powerful to be able to join with other schools.
“Monday’s event was the culmination of work to raise awareness of bullying in all the project schools.
“Spreading those messages through a signed song was a wonderfully inclusive way of celebrating uniqueness, diversity and difference.
“The event was a joy for the adults attending and I hope it was empowering for the children and young people who performed so powerfully.”
Ms Clements-Benson said the team at Knotty Ash Primary are already planning to do the event again next year.
She said she hopes it will expand so more schools can get involved.