black and white image of parliament and big ben

Parliamentary Debate on BSL in National Curriculum: Reactions

This week in Parliament, adding BSL to the National Curriculum was debated.

Disappointingly the government has no plans to add to the current curriculum even though a pilot scheme has been in progress.

Despite claiming to understand the need to provide high level academic teaching, they still seem to miss the point that by providing BSL in schools it makes for a more inclusive social atmosphere and provides deaf students with a greater opportunity to attain equivalent qualifications to their peers.

Imagine that teachers and pupils alike learnt BSL. If a deaf child needed clarification on an issue it would be easier to provide support to that child. It’s true that not every person would be fluent but the isolation would be decreased by opening the door to communication.

England lags behind Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in their support of BSL. Is this because these countries have indigenous languages that are already supported and as a result, are more open to offering provision for second and third languages? As a nation we should all feel that our human rights are being honoured and yet sign language users in Britain are left feeling that their access is limited to opportunities in the job market. How can we encourage our deaf youth to strive to achieve and yet hold them back at the start of their lives by not encouraging BSL in education?

I appeal to deaf communities, charities and individuals to keep protesting and lobbying MPs.
Take the time to sign the petition; your children’s future could be changed for the better. Most importantly, DofE think again!

My own thanks to all the MPs who debated so rigorously and good luck with your BSL lessons.

For the full transcript of the debate.

Feel free to share this article!