School children in Norwich sang it loud and signed it proud yesterday as they bid to break a world record.

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More than 400 pupils from Angel Road Junior School joined tens of thousands of others across the country to set a new record for the most people singing and performing a song in sign language at the same time.

Led by mascot Olli the Monkey, they performed Sign2Sing, a song written specially for the occasion by hearing charity SignHealth, and were looking to set a new mark of 135,000 people performing at the same time, beating last year’s total of 114,277.

Sue Graham, music coordinator at Angel Road, said the children, ranging from Reception to Year 6, had thrown themselves into the task so fully that sign language had even become part of life at the school.

“For the last few weeks we’ve tacked a bit on to our lessons and they do it really well,” she said.

“We’ve tried to raise awareness and imagine what it’s like if you can’t hear or have partial hearing. Most people can communicate – it’s us who have the problem really.”

Signing is now used for children to ask for bathroom breaks discreetly and for their teachers to respond without disturbing the rest of the class.

“The children have picked it up so quickly that I’ve even had a mum say their child is using sign language at home and they wanted to know what it meant,” said Ms Graham.

The performance was the culmination of weeks of practise for the children and their teachers, which included role plays where they put themselves in the position of a deaf person and tried lip reading.

Pupils also made donations to SignHealth, raising several hundred pounds for the charity.

“We will be making a contribution to charity, but for us it was more about the raising awareness among the children and for them to learn,” said Ms Graham.

“They’ve been really motivated to do that and to try something new.”

The money raised from the event will be used to continue the charity’s work helping to improve the mental and physical health and well-being of deaf people, including deaf children.

Pupil George Hudson, 11, said his class had enjoyed learning the song, even if some of moves had proven a little tricky at times.

“We did practise the song in our music lessons, but it was quite difficult at first,” he said.

“I remembered bits of the song from last year, but some of the movements you can get mixed up. The song is so quick that you have to know them all really well to keep up.”

Laura Pulido-Sanchez, also 11, added: “I had a friend at my old school who used to lip read, and I used to use sign language to communicate with him sometimes.

“Now we know more sign language it makes it easier to talk to almost anyone.”

Also due to take part in Sign2Sing were Little Melton Primary School, Hethersett High School, Peapod pre-school in the Golden Triangle, Rackheath Primary School and St John’s Catholic Infant School.

You can show your pictures of Sign2Sing on our content-sharing website www.iwitness24.co.uk

Go to www.mustardtv.co.uk to see a Mustard TV video of Sign2Sing.

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