When Liz Twist, Labour MP for Blaydon, brought the petition for British Sign Language to be taught as a GCSE in England to the House of Commons for debate on March 5th 2018, she committed to learn BSL. She was true to her word. On May 15th she and a cross-party group of 12 MPs spent an hour with Kathleen learning the basics of BSL!
This sends out such an important message about the importance of everyone learning BSL. We taught the MPs fingerspelling, how signs are created and some useful phrases for when they meet Deaf constituents.
Dot is in complete agreement that a GCSE in BSL must be introduced (Signature have a pilot course which is ready to go!) A GCSE would mean that BSL is viewed as equal to spoken languages. Teachers could find time in their timetables if it was a recognised subject. With pupils able to learn BSL, Deaf children would be able to communicate with their peers and feel included in school life. More children would be aware of interpreting and training to be Teachers of the Deaf as careers. The list of benefits goes on.
Thank you to all of the MPs who took time from their busy schedules to join us, and to Sense for organising the session and for choosing Dot to be the training providers.