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For the first time all Scottish colleges, universities and specialist institutions have published British Sign Language (BSL) plans, ahead of the October 2019 target set by Scottish Ministers in the 2017-23 BSL National Plan.

BSL plans set out how institutions will support students who use BSL, with clear and measurable commitment to improvement where necessary. The plans are reviewed annually by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to make sure inequalities are addressed.

Speaking at a BSL showcase event hosted by SFC and the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 Partnership, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Richard Lochhead, said:

 “The Scottish Government wants Scotland to be the best place in the world for those who speak BSL to live, work, study and visit.

“Our colleges and universities have a vital role to play in this, ensuring students are able to maximise their potential in post-school education and receive the support they need to do well in their chosen subjects.

“I am pleased to see Scottish institutions leading the way in supporting BSL speakers. We are committed to ensuring every student has a fair chance to access education and to complete their courses, and we will continue to drive forward action on this through our BSL National Plan.”

SFC chief executive, Karen Watt, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for all Scottish colleges, universities and specialist institutions. SFC is proud to be involved in this work and we are grateful to the BSL users on our steering group who have played a vital role helping institutions develop their own plans.”

Speaking on behalf of the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 Partnership, Deaf Action spokesperson Alison Hendry, said:

 “It is an exciting time with the BSL plans being published by all further and higher education institutions in Scotland. This will allow members of the BSL-speaking community to be fully involved and empowered to become more confident individuals within the education sector. It has been fantastic to see how pro-active institutions have been in developing and publishing their plans, showing some great examples for the rest of the UK and the world to follow.”