EKC Folkestone College Given ‘Makaton Friendly’ status
EKC Folkestone College has been given an award for its promotion of an alternative method of communication.
The College is now listed as ‘Makaton friendly’ by the Makaton charity, which oversees the use of the language based on symbols and hand gestures.
This makes Folkestone the only College to be recognised as such in Kent.
Its Supported Learning department had to wait until the worst of the Covid pandemic was over before they could officially receive their certificate from Makaton, however the wait has been worth it according to staff.
Ruth Batchelor, the Programme Director for Supported Learning, has been instrumental in seeing the project through.
She said: “It’s an incredibly important tool that allows greater communication both inside and outside the classroom.
“Many of our Supported Learning students have a foundational knowledge of Makaton, as it’s often used in schools that they’ve come to us from.
“It’s not too difficult to teach, because if you’re speaking and signing in lessons they can pick up common phrases.”
When asked what they thought of the Makaton system, students said they liked it, that it was easy and that it helped them communicate at home.
Outside of the Supported Learning centre, the symbols can be seen on signs in the reception, as well as on the name badges of staff members.
Nikki Townsend, Head of Supported Learning, said: “We’re very excited to have ‘Makaton friendly’ status – I think Makaton is essential for the students.
“To see it used in the wider college as well makes them feel more a part of the wider student body, and with symbols around the campus it also teaches learners who aren’t one of our Supported Learning students about Makaton.”
Now, staff across the East Kent Colleges Group six Colleges are being encouraged to get involved and give it a go.
Each week, members of the Senior Leadership Team are producing videos to demonstrate the Makaton charity’s ‘sign of the week’.
To learn more about Folkestone College’s Supported Learning facilities, click here.