Make British Sign Language part of the National Curriculum

Around 50,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language, so why is this not taught in schools? There are many children who are born deaf, and we need to give them a better chance at a more integrated future. This is why BSL needs to be taught in schools.

This petition closed on 12 Mar 2018 with 35,203 signatures


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Recent Documents related to Make British Sign Language part of the National Curriculum

1. General Debate on Deafness and Hearing Loss
29/11/2017 - Parliamentary Research

Found: This paper looks at some of the areas where the deaf and hard of hearing can experience difficulties

2. Deaf children's services
10/09/2018 - Parliamentary Research

Found: DEBATE PACK Number CDP-0192, 10 September 2018 Deaf children's services By Robert Long Alexander Bellis

3. Language teaching in schools (England)
19/12/2018 - Parliamentary Research

Found: PAPER Number 07388, 19 December 2018 Language teaching in schools (England) By Robert Long Shadi Danechi

4. Outcomes Delivery Plan 2018-19 End-Year Report
06/09/2019 - Northern Ireland Office
- View source

Found: where people can fulfill their potential 48 - OUTCOME 6 We have more people working in better jobs

5. Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) - written evidence
01/05/2019 - Inquiry: Universal Credit - In-work progression - Work and Pensions Committee
- View source

Found: Association for Deaf people (RAD)Written evidence from Royal Association for Deaf People RAD (UCI0008)introduction:

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Make British Sign Language part of the National Curriculum

1. British Sign Language: National Curriculum
05/03/2018 - Westminster Hall

1: accessible to people who are deaf or hearing-impaired. The interpreters are using British Sign Language, and Parliament - Speech Link
2: e-petition 200000 relating to British Sign Language being part of the national curriculum.It is an honour - Speech Link

2. Deaf Children’s Services
13/09/2018 - Westminster Hall

1: available for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired. The interpreters are using British Sign Language, and Parliament - Speech Link
2: beg to move,That this House has considered deaf children’s services.It is a pleasure to see - Speech Link

3. Deafness and Hearing Loss
30/11/2017 - Westminster Hall

1: for people who are deaf or have problems with hearing, and the interpreters are using British Sign Language - Speech Link
2: see that our debate is being interpreted into sign language, which I believe is a parliamentary first; we - Speech Link

4. British Sign Language Users: Access to NHS Services
15/05/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: accessible to people who are deaf or hearing impaired. The interpreters in the Chamber are using British Sign - Speech Link
2: has considered access to NHS services for British Sign Language users.It is a pleasure to serve under - Speech Link

5. Schools: British Sign Language
22/05/2019 - Lords Chamber

1: develop draft GCSE subject content for British Sign Language as soon as possible. This is a complex process - Speech Link
2: profoundly deaf daughter and as holding an honorary position on a number of charities for deaf people. As the - Speech Link
3: recognise the benefits that a British Sign Language GCSE would bring to the deaf community. I wish I was in - Speech Link

6. Mental Health Services: Sign Language Users
02/02/2015 - Lords Chamber

1: of mental health services for British Sign Language-using deaf people is poor and it is likely to get - Speech Link

7. Disabled People
28/06/2018 - Lords Chamber

1: drawn to give speakers the freedom to bring any aspect of the challenges that disabled people face to - Speech Link

8. Oral Answers to Questions
11/07/2019 - Commons Chamber

1: since my Department was formed, and in that time the UK has worked with partners to ensure that the World - Speech Link
2: over their existing EU free trade agreements, while many others, such as Switzerland, have happily done so - Speech Link
3: We all have a responsibility, at international, national and personal level, to take climate change absolutely - Speech Link
4: posts through our sectors in the UK, so that they can understand what the UK can do in terms of services and - Speech Link

9. History Curriculum: Migration
18/06/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: considered teaching migration in the history curriculum.It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship - Speech Link

10. Support for Deaf Children: South Gloucestershire
09/05/2018 - Westminster Hall

1: That this House has considered support for deaf children in south Gloucestershire.It is a pleasure - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Make British Sign Language part of the National Curriculum
1. Children: Hearing Impairment
asked by: Jim Fitzpatrick
09/03/2016
... how many deaf children attended mainstream schools in England in each of the last 10 years; and how many such children were taught British Sign Language in each of those years.

Latest Questions

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Government Response

BSL was recognised as a language in its own right by the UK government in 2003. Whilst it is not a mandatory part of the curriculum, schools are free to teach it if they choose to do so.


We recognise that for some children and young people with a hearing impairment, the use of BSL is a vital method of communication and is the first or preferred language of an estimated 70,000 deaf people in the UK. BSL has been recognised by the government as a language in its own right since March 2003. There are existing accredited BSL qualifications including a Level 1 award, Level 2, 3 and 4 certificates and a Level 6 NVQ certificate. The Level 1 and 2 qualifications, equivalent to GCSE grades A*-G or 9-1, have the highest take up. Schools are free to enter pupils for these awards at any point in their school career. We are also aware that the 2015 Consortium for Research into Deaf Education survey of teachers of the deaf in the UK showed that the vast majority (around 86%) of deaf children use spoken language as their main language in schools. 

We have no plans to change the current national curriculum for schools.  The national curriculum has been designed to focus on the essential knowledge that must be taught, allowing teachers to take greater control over the wider curriculum in schools and how it is taught. It is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications.

Department for Education


MPs spoken contributions during 5 Mar 2018 petition debate

Labour Liz Twist (View contribution) 2304 words Jim Fitzpatrick 1467 words Dawn Butler (View contribution) 1274 words Emma Hardy (View contribution) 1182 words
Non-affiliated Lord Austin of Dudley (View contribution) 112 words
Scottish National Party Carol Monaghan (View contribution) 1324 words