Scottish Government publish new BSL Plan
- Section: The ALLIANCE
- Type: News Item
- Published: 6th November 2023
The Scottish Government have shared a plan to improve the lives of British Sign Language users.
The Scottish Government have published the new British Sign Language (BSL) action plan, as part of ongoing work to “make Scotland the best place to live, work and visit for people that use the language”.
The BSL National Plan 2023-29 has 45 commitments aimed at tackling barriers faced by BSL users by embedding the language across health, education, transport, culture and employment.
Commitments made include:
- building the right partnerships and connections to ensure deaf and deafblind children and their families can access BSL support at an early stage.
- improving accessibility to arts and culture events, in addition to promoting BSL culture.
- working with Transport Scotland and transport operators on solutions to make public transport easier to use for BSL users.
- improving accessibility of the Scottish Government website for BSL users.
Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said:
“BSL is a vibrant language which is of significant importance to the lives of many people. This plan lays out our ambition to make Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to visit and live in. These 45 commitments will improve access to vital services and provide more opportunities for BSL users to contribute further to Scotland’s economy, culture and communities.
“The BSL community should be at heart of our decision making process in this area, which is why we will also establish a BSL National Plan Implementation Advisory Group, to ensure that the views of the community are properly represented.”
In the ALLIANCE’s response to the consultation on the BSL Plan we called for better data gathering, for more sensory awareness in the workplace, equal opportunities for BSL users, and recognition of BSL teachers’ professional status (among other items). We welcome that the BSL Plan includes recognition of the need to improve BSL data collection and analysis (Commitments 35 to 37), improve BSL users’ access to employment (Commitments 22 and 23), and facilitate BSL users to obtain qualified teacher status (Commitment 18).
Hannah Tweed, Scottish Sensory Hub Manager, stated that:
“The ALLIANCE welcomes the publication of the BSL Action Plan, as a commitment from the Scottish Government to prioritising the rights and requirements of BSL users. We look forward to working with partners and stakeholders to implement the commitments – and hope to see much-needed change enacted in Scotland as a result.”
The BSL National Plan Implementation Advisory Group will ensure that actions in the plan are on target to be delivered by 2029. The group, which will be made up of representatives from the BSL community, including representatives of the Scottish Sensory Hub at the ALLIANCE, will publish an update report in 2026.
For more information, and to read the BSL Plan, visit: BSL National Plan 2023-2029 – gov.scot (www.gov.scot).
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