This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government
Petition Make British Sign Language part of the curriculum
It's compulsory for students in England to take a language to 14 but signing isn't listed along with French, Germany or Mandarin. With one in 60 brits profoundly deaf and 11m others with hearing problems, this is a glaring omission is it not?
This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months
This response was given on 15 September 2016
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.
Read the response in full
The teaching of a foreign language is statutory at key stages 2 and 3 for pupils in maintained schools.
Teaching of one modern foreign language has always been a statutory requirement of the national curriculum at key stage 3, and schools can teach any major European or world language to meet this requirement. From September 2014, maintained primary schools must teach a modern or ancient foreign language to pupils at key stage 2.
The government accepts that British Sign Language (BSL) can be a beneficial subject that schools might choose to teach in addition to foreign languages. However, the national curriculum programmes of study for languages contain a number of requirements that could not be met through BSL; for example at key stage 2 the requirement to describe people, places, things and actions in writing. A maintained school would therefore be unable to meet the curriculum requirement solely by teaching BSL.
Department for Education