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

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

Post-school Education

Goal: BSL users will be able to maximise their potential at school, will be supported to transition to post-school education if they wish to do so and will receive the support they need to do well in their chosen subject(s).

Steps to be taken by 2023 are:

23. Make sure that students whose first or preferred language is BSL have a much more positive experience when they make the transition to post-school education. We will make sure that schools, colleges, universities and employers are aware of their responsibilities. We will work together to improve the information given to BSL users.

24. The Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) will establish a steering group to help colleges and universities develop their own BSL plans.

Question 10 - Do you think these are the right steps under Post-school Education?

In total, 99 people or groups answered Question 10. Of these 78% agreed that these are the right steps under Post-school Education, 14% disagreed, and 8% said they did not know.

Question 11 - Please tell us why you think this.

Question 12 - If there are there any additional steps, or potential solutions that you think could be added to the Post-school Education section, please tell us.

Around 90 people or groups made a written / BSL comment about Post-school Education and it was discussed at around 45 events.

A number of people said that the transition from school to college or university study is very important to allowing someone to maximise their potential. They felt that the support available should be appropriate, personalised and should cover not just educational but also wider wellbeing. Many people said that Deaf /Deafblind BSL using students often feel isolated and are given inadequate information about the support available. They stressed that it was important that the move to further education was seen to be a positive experience that sets a young person out on the career path of their choice

Moving to further education will be a positive experience and colleges and universities will be aware of their responsibilities (Step 23)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • The duty to support Deaf / Deafblind BSL users is outlined in both the Equality Act 2010 in terms of reasonable adjustments, and the Additional Support for Learning Act. The BSL National Plan needs to provide more detail on how this will be achieved.
  • The career choices of Deaf / Deafblind BSL students in college or university should be based on ability and not bound by limitations.
  • Adequate numbers of BSL / English interpreters with the right skills need to be available for the right support to be provided. There is a shortage particularly out with central Scotland.
  • Schools, colleges, social work departments and other partners should work together to create a pathway to help Deaf / Deafblind students from school to further education.
  • Support available should be clear and known to the student from the point an application is made, they can then decide if the options available suits their needs.
  • Some further education establishments may struggle with the costs of improving support for Deaf / Deafblind BSL using students.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • An agreed standard of support should be put in place for all colleges and universities and be monitored.
  • BSL / English interpreter services should extend beyond the classroom to support involvement in wider activities and to avoid isolation.
  • Support packages should also consider support for Deafblind BSL students or those from different ethnic groups.
  • A peer support programme should be put in place where students can learn from the experiences of others.

The Scottish Funding Council will support colleges and universities to develop their own BSL Plan (Step 24)

Comments people or groups made about this step included:

  • All aspects of post education should be considered in the Plan, including access to social issues, physical learning environments and student accommodation.
  • Plans for individual colleges and universities could be useful for new students, but joint plans with schools might support the transition.
  • A co-ordinated approach is needed across post education services.

Suggestions made or ideas people or groups had included:

  • The Scottish Government should develop an overarching national college and university BSL plan to make sure there is consistency.
  • A national advisory board for further education could be set up to share good practice.


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