Long-term aims for BSL National Plan

The long-term aims and ambitions for the British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan in Scotland

These are the draft long-term aims for the BSL National Plan, which is required by the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015.

These long-term aims have been revised following:

  • feedback from people whose first or preferred language is BSL;
  • feedback from public bodies, and;
  • discussion at the second meeting of the BSL National Advisory Group (NAG2).

The next step is to agree what Scottish public bodies need to do, to help make progress towards each of the long-term aims over the period 2017-2023.

The Scottish Government welcome feedback from people whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language (BSL), from public bodies and from others with an interest in BSL on what actions should The Scottish Government and other public bodies take over the next six years to help achieve each of these long-term aims.

We would like you to look at each of the aims and ambitions, and

  • tell us what you think we need to do to make these aims and ambitions happen and;
  • tell us which of the things you have suggested are the most important for you.

At NAG3, the BSL National Advisory Group (NAG) will use this feedback to recommend actions to be included in the first BSL National Plan.

The BSL version of this paper is available here.

Deafblind BSL-using people attended the DBNAG meeting to give their feedback.


The aims of the BSL National Plan

The Scottish Government values British Sign Language (BSL). We will show leadership in promoting and supporting BSL as a vibrant and living language of Scotland.

We want to make Scotland the best place in the world for people whose first or preferred language is BSL to live, work and visit.

This means that Deaf and Deafblind BSL users will be fully involved in daily and public life in Scotland, as active, healthy citizens and will be able to make informed choices about every aspect of their lives.

  • Our ambition for early years
    • Families with a Deaf or Deafblind child will be given information about BSL and Deaf culture and and will offered support to learn to sign with their child.
  • Our ambitions for school education
    • Every Deaf or Deafblind child in Scotland will have the opportunity to be taught bilingually in BSL and in English from nursery, through primary school and secondary school, with full access to the curriculum in BSL (resources and teaching).
  • Parents whose first or preferred language is BSL can access the same opportunities to be involved in their child’s education as other parents.
  • Children and young people will have the opportunity to learn BSL through the “1 + 2 languages” programme.
  • Our ambitions for post-school education

3.1)   People whose first or preferred language is BSL 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).

3.2)   People whose first or preferred language is BSL can access     lifelong learning opportunities, including community education.

  • Our ambitions for employment
    • People whose first or preferred language is BSL will be supported to develop the necessary skills to become valued members of the Scottish workforce, and will have fair and equal access to employment opportunities, including apprenticeships, internships and employability programmes.
  • People whose first or preferred language is BSL will be provided with support in the workplace to enable them to remain in and progress in their chosen career.
  • Our ambition for health, mental health & social care
    • People whose first or preferred language is BSL will have access to the information and services they need to live active, healthy lives, and to make informed choices at every step of their care pathway.
  • Our ambition for justice
    • People whose first or preferred language is BSL will have the information and legal support they need to have full access to civil and criminal justice in Scotland, including where they are victims of crime, and will have the information and legal support they need if they are arrested and charged with a crime in Scotland.
  • Our ambition for transport
    • People whose first or preferred language is BSL will have safe, fair and inclusive access to public transport and the systems that support all transport use in Scotland.
  • Our ambition for culture, leisure, sport and the arts
    • People whose first or preferred language is BSL will enjoy fair and inclusive access to Scotland’s culture, leisure pursuits, sport and the arts and will have every opportunity to share their own Deaf culture with the people of Scotland.
  • Our ambition for all our public services
    • Across the Scottish public sector, information and services will be accessible to people whose first or preferred language is BSL.
  • Our ambitions for representation in democracy of people whose first or preferred language is BSL
    • People whose first or preferred language is BSL should be able to represent the people of Scotland as elected politicians at a national and local level, and to serve on boards of our public bodies.
  • People whose first or preferred language is BSL should have full access to information about democracy, including voting.

The BSL version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUWJXuTrFtI

Please reply by sending your comments to Mandy Reid – mandy@scod.org.uk by Friday 15 July 2016 in BSL or English.  All the information will be collected, read and a report written, translated and circulated by Monday 8 August 2016, to be discussed at NAG3 on Monday 22 August 2016.