British Sign Language (BSL) national plan 2023-2029: consultation

We are seeking views on the British Sign Language National Plan 2023 to 2029 to inform the final publication in autumn 2023.

Part 3: Summary

Our proposed BSL National Plan for 2023-2029 works towards the purpose of making Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work, visit and learn. Our approach has been informed by a wide range of research, analysis and evidence from the lived experience of BSL users in Scotland and organisations representing Deaf BSL users.

The draft actions proposed for the BSL National Plan 2023-29 contains a package of commitments and measures that work together to address the six identified priority areas: BSL data strategy, BSL workforce, support for deaf children, young people and their families, BSL accessibility, the promotion of the heritage and culture of BSL, and social care and wellbeing. The information below summarises each of the priority areas:

  • BSL Data Strategy – The Scottish Government recognises the need to develop a sustainable model of obtaining evidence and data around BSL, which will help inform our work within the current and future BSL National Plans.
  • BSL Workforce – The Scottish Government recognises the ongoing issues surrounding the shortages in BSL professions such as BSL/English interpreting and BSL tutors in Scotland. By focusing on increasing the number of professionals in these fields, the strategy can help alleviate the shortage and improve access to BSL services for the deaf communities in Scotland.
  • Support for deaf children, young people and their familiesThe Scottish Government recognises that language deprivation in deaf and deafblind children has an impact on their crucial developmental learning in the ages between 0-5 years which can hinder their social, cognitive, and emotional development.
  • BSL accessibility – The Scottish Government recognises that the BSL communities are underrepresented across organisations and services in Scotland. We want to promote and develop sustainable approaches to ensure the most impactful work is being carried out to ensure the level of BSL accessibility in Scotland are visible, high quality and widely available.
  • Promoting heritage and culture of BSL – The Scottish Government recognises the rich BSL culture that Scotland possesses and the ongoing projects in heritage, culture, and arts across Scotland to represent and celebrate BSL. We are seeking views on how to grow this sector which will bring a host of empowering benefits to the BSL community.
  • Social care and wellbeing – The Scottish Government recognises the importance of ensuring that individuals are able to thrive in their daily lives, which includes accessing wellbeing services and receiving the right care for their needs. For the BSL communities, this means being able to receive support in BSL with an understanding of their culture as well as being able to receive information in BSL.



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