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Publication - Consultation Responses

British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan 2017-2023: analysis of consultation responses

Published: 23 Oct 2017
Part of:
Communities and third sector, Equality and rights
ISBN:
9781788512725

The report sets out the analysis of the public consultation on Scotland's draft British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan.

71 page PDF

985.8kB

71 page PDF

985.8kB

Contents
British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan 2017-2023: analysis of consultation responses
Education

71 page PDF

985.8kB

Education

Goals:

That children and young people who use BSL reach their full potential at school.

Steps to be taken by 2023 are:

14. Discuss with the General Teaching Council for Scotland ( GTCS) how to remove barriers to register Deaf people who want to become teachers.

15. Investigate the qualification level of BSL that teachers have and review how the GTCS's Professional Update and Standards could inform guidance for teachers of pupils who use BSL.

16. Discuss with Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA) the potential for developing SQA Awards in BSL.

17. Ensure that appropriate guidance and resources are available to schools and local authorities.

That parents who use BSL can access the same opportunities to be involved in their child's education as other parents.

Steps to be taken by 2023 are:

18. Ensure that guidance to schools and local authorities considers the needs of parents who use BSL.

19. Consider what more we can do to ensure that parents who use BSL can be fully involved in their child's education.

That the 1+2 language learning policy offers the opportunity for BSL to be included in the suite of languages local authorities choose to offer to children and young people.

Steps to be taken by 2023 are:

20. Make sure that education authorities and schools know that BSL can be part of the language offer in schools under 1+2 language policy.

21. Gather information annually on where BSL is being offered in schools as part of the 1+2 language policy.

22. Gather and share examples of good practice in teaching BSL to hearing pupils as part of 1+2, and make sure there is guidance to support this.

Question 7 - Do you think these are the right steps under Education?

In total, 109 people or groups answered Question 7. Of these 74% agreed that these are the right steps under Education, 17% disagreed, and 9% said they did not know.

Question 8 - Please tell us why you think this.

Question 9 - If there are there any additional steps, or potential solutions that you think could be added to the Education section, please tell us.

Around 110 people or groups made a written / BSL comment about Education and it was discussed at around 60 events.

The support and inclusion of Deaf / Deafblind BSL users and parents in education services attracted a great deal of interest. People felt that positive changes are needed and that they should happen now. Education is seen to be a foundation for life and there is no reason why, with the right support, Deaf children cannot achieve what they want to. People are keen to see an improvement plan developed with clear actions, timeframes and responsibilities and with schools held to account.

Removing barriers for BSL users to become teachers with the GTCS (Step 14)

Comments people made about this step included

  • Access to teachers who use BSL will improve communication and education standards for Deaf or Deafblind children.
  • BSL using teachers would break down stigma and improve understanding of BSL communities and Deaf culture, they would also be positive role models for children.
  • Teachers need to be more fluent in BSL than the children they are teaching, this would lead to real progress.
  • Schools would be more inclusive places if BSL was a common language within schools.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • Schools should employ Deaf / Deafblind BSL using staff in all types of posts and not just teaching posts. This approach should also cover support functions.
  • Discussions should take place with the GTCS to encourage Deaf / Deafblind BSL users into teaching. This should support equal access to opportunities.

Consider the qualifications teachers should have in BSL (Step 15)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • BSL skills in schools are essential to build links with the BSL community, Deaf community and wider specialised services.
  • Good BSL skills in teachers will help Deaf or Deafblind children feel part of the school as well as improve their education.
  • Some people felt that the qualification level for teachers should be high, others felt that to attain this was not realistic. Most believed that there needed to proportionate assistance to support a good education.
  • The qualification levels for Communication Support Workers should also be considered.
  • Local authorities and therefore schools, are required to show that they are supporting Deaf / Deafblind BSL users under their equality duties.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • Schools could be given a percentage target for teachers trained in BSL based on their size and need.
  • Training should be provided in tactile BSL or other languages to reflect the needs of the children.

Consider if (Scottish Qualification Authority) SQA awards for BSL can be developed (Step 16)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • Developing an SQA for BSL is a very good idea and will show BSL is as important as any other language.
  • An SQA would raise awareness of BSL in local areas but also nationally.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • If an SQA is developed, then all resources and supports for students should be available in BSL too.

Make sure the right BSL resources and guidance are available in schools (Step 17)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • All resources should be of a high standard and as good as any other teaching resources.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • All partners should work together to provide the best support possible. This could include education, the council and deaf support services so a single approach is agreed.
  • Resources should be developed with Deaf / Deafblind BSL users.
  • Standards of practice should be agreed and they should be reviewed regularly.
  • There should be specifically Scottish materials and resources.

To support parents who use BSL to be part of the school (Step 18)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • Deaf / Deafblind parents whose first or preferred language is BSL do not currently feel they are involved in school activity.
  • Some people noted that parent involvement is essential and schools are already required by law to make sure this takes place.
  • Deaf parents must have the same access and opportunities as hearing parents. This is essential in supporting their child's education and helping them to succeed.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • Help should be provided to access school information and find out about the support available to help Deaf parents become involved.

Parents should be supported to be involved in their child's education (Step 19)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • Many people felt that there is little understanding of Deaf culture in schools and they were keen for something to be done about this.
  • Parents have a key role in supporting their child's education but also their emotional and social wellbeing. Practical support is needed so that parents who use BSL are able to support their children like anyone else.
  • There were some concerns that the school would not know if parents were BSL users.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • Translation services could help with homework tasks, school information and out of school activities.
  • Interpreters should be available at short notice for meetings or discussions with teaching staff.

Including BSL in the 1+2 Language policy (Step 20)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • Including BSL in the 1+2 language policy will challenge attitudes, raise awareness and encourage people to learn and use BSL.
  • BSL will be seen as equal to other languages in the school.
  • Stigma will be reduced and children will feel less isolated if BSL is part of the school programme.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • This could provide a basis for positive discussions between hearing and BSL using children about Deaf culture. This would build relationships and raise awareness.
  • How about learning Scottish Sign Language?

Gathering data on BSL being offered in the 1+2 policy across Scotland (Step 21)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • Collecting data would allow progress to be seen and identify issues or good practice.
  • Data will help make the right decisions about future funding or how services could be delivered.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • Data should be reliable and consistent across the country so progress can be compared.
  • Adequate resources need to be in place for the action to be successful. Discussions should take place with schools so that progress is manageable.

Sharing good practice and providing guidance to support BSL as part of the 1+2 language policy (Step 22)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • BSL within the 1+2 language policy will help Deaf or Deafblind children feel part of the school, feel confident and do well.
  • The 1+2 language policy will provide a framework so progress in BSL can be measured and success can be shared.
  • Schools that have BSL as part of their curriculum can share their learning with others, help find solutions, and increase the use of BSL nationally.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • Schools can help develop the guidance based on their experiences.

A group could be set up to support schools to take time out to discuss BSL and share good practice.


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