Pupils enjoy a classroom visit from TV star Dave Benson Phillips
The children’s entertainer and 90s television presenter, Dave Benson Phillips dropped in to entertain young people at Keelman’s Way school in Hebburn, on Friday 7 June.
Mr Benson Phillips spent the day delivering Makaton signing and singing workshops to pupils aged between 2-19 years old.
The sign and symbol language, designed to help those who have trouble communicating through speech, is used at Keelman’s Way school for children and young people with complex needs and learning difficulties.
Best-known for fronting the children’s TV programme ‘Playbus’ and game show, ‘Get Your Own Back’, in recent years the star has become popular with a new generation, thanks to his ‘Sign and Sing’ Makaton videos on YouTube.
He now specialises in performing to children and young adults with learning difficulties and his Makaton DVD has been used widely in education.
Mr Benson Phillips kept pupils at Keelman’s Way, in Hebburn, entertained with nursery rhymes, and sing-a-longs with his guitar, taking requests for everything from George Ezra’s Shotgun, to Mama-Mia.
“He’s just got so much energy, he’s not stopped all day,” said Assistant Head Teacher, at Keelman’s Way, Laura McGregor. “He’s a fantastic role model for our children, they are absolutely hooked - and even a few of the older staff who remember him from Playbus.”
She continued: “We’ve got children who really struggle with their communication, with their emotions and in terms of how he’s engaged them he’s just been wonderful.”
And it seems that the school has left a good impression on Mr Benson Phillips, too.
“He’s taken by the whole place, the atmosphere in school, the setting, the energy of the teachers and just how calm the children are, he’s given us a lot of compliments,” said Ms McGregor.
While for the pupils and staff at Keelman’s Way, a day which celebrates Makaton in such a high profile way is invaluable.
“It’s something that we aspire to use everyday, in every situation, so it’s a blessing to have a day that recognises something that we value so much,” Ms McGregor added.
“It’s just been one of those wonderful days which will go down in the history of Keelman’s Way school.”