A ROMSEY sign language tutor has thrown her support behind a national petition to teach the communication in early education.

Romsey was crowned as the first Makaton-friendly town in the UK earlier this year, with more than 30 business, including the fire service, speaking the language.

Now, more than 6,700 people have signed a government petition to introduce the sign language into early years and primary education in the UK.

Hannah Anderson, who led the campaign in Romsey, has said it's 'absolutely fantastic'.

The petition states: "Communication is an essential life skill. Much of everyday life relies on it, from playing to learning, to getting our needs met.

"Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to aid communication. Designed to support spoken language, the signs and symbols are in spoken word order."

Hannah, of Speaking Space, said: "Having Makaton introduced at such an early age would be fantastic!

"It will support their communication skills and provide even more inclusion for those who use Makaton. We're really on our way for a more inclusive society."

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service also followed in the steps of its Romsey station by learning Makaton. It is attempting to be the first Makaton-friendly fire service.

Romsey firefighter Phil Nicholson said: "Being able to communicate with everyone in the community will help us do our jobs better and quickly get important details at incidents involving people who can't communicate through speech."

Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes has previously supported Makaton in the town's bid to become Makaton-friendly, though the immigration minister cannot support individual petitions to the government due to her position.

At its current number, almost 4,500 have signed the petition, with 10,000 needed for a government response to the request.

If it reaches 100,000, it will then be considered for debate in Parliament.

See the petition here.