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Closed petition Fund free BSL Courses for parents or guardians of deaf children

I would like the Government allow the parents of deaf children to have free and easy access to learn BSL to be able to communicate effectively with their child.

More details

It is vital that deaf children are not left behind because their families cannot afford to learn to communicate with them. Hearing Aids are amazing, but they are not always effective.

My baby boy, Alvie, is moderately deaf. We have chosen to learn BSL. It is amazing that BSL is now a recognised language, but it isn’t enough if people don’t have the money to learn it.

Please sign this to help parents to get free and easy access to learn BSL.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

26,671 signatures

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100,000

Government responded

This response was given on 10 January 2023

Adult Education Budget funding is available for British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications, below Level 3. At Level 3 and above Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications.

Read the response in full

The government recognises how important it is for parents and guardians of deaf children to be able to access a British Sign Language (BSL) course if their own child is learning BSL to communicate with others. Although there are no plans to introduce a universal free BSL course for this cohort, funding is available through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for qualifications in or focussing on British Sign Language (BSL) up to and including Level 2. About 60% of the AEB has been devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority who determine which provision to fund for learnersresident in their areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency provides the remaining funding for learners resident in non devolved areas. Some providers of Community Learning offer BSL courses, and those providers determine the course fees, including levels of fee remission. For qualifications at Level 3 and above Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications. BSL qualifications and the appropriate further education funding offer can be found here - https://www.qualifications.education.gov.uk/Search.

Department for Education

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/623900)

Original Government response

Adult Education Budget funding is available for British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications, below Level 3. At Level 3 and above Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications

Funding is available through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for qualifications in or focussing on British Sign Language (BSL) up to and including Level 2. About 60% of the AEB has been devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority who determine which provision to fund for learners resident in their areas. Education and Skills Funding Agency provides the remaining funding for learners resident in non devolved areas. Some providers of Community Learning offer BSL courses, and those providers determine the course fees, including levels of fee remission. For qualifications at Level 3 and above Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications. BSL qualifications and the appropriate further education funding offer can be found here - https://www.qualifications.education.gov.uk/Search.

Eligible students will be able to apply for student support if their undergraduate course is designated for funding under The Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011. If undertaking a British Sign Language (BSL qualification that leads to a masters level qualification, eligible students can access a postgraduate loan, as long as they have not previously accessed the postgraduate loan product, or already hold a level 7 qualification. Several universities and organisations offer such qualifications.

Department for Education

This response was given on 15 November 2022. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

Share your views on the cost of living and financial support for disabled people

The MPs on the Petitions Committee have scheduled a debate on two petitions about the cost of living and financial support for disabled people:

Marsha De Cordova MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, has been asked to open the debate, which will take place on Monday 22 May.

Share your views

To inform the debate, we would like to hear from you about your experiences of and views on the cost of living and financial support for disabled people and people with a long-term health condition.

You can share your views with us by completing this survey

The survey is also available in the following formats:

The survey will close on 31 March.

A summary of responses will be published on the Parliament website. It will also be shared with MPs and may be referred to in the debate or within other parliamentary documents. Please don't share anything that may identify you.

Watch the debate

The debate will take place on Monday 22 May at 4.30pm.

A British Sign Language translation of the debate will also be made available on Parliament Live TV.

What are petition debates?

Petition debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means that MPs will not vote on financial support for disabled people at the end of the debate.

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British Sign Language report debated by MPs

On Tuesday 17 October, Chloe Smith MP led a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on the British Sign Language report 2022 and implementation of the British Sign Language Act 2022.

Watch the debate, read the transcript of what was said, and access other relevant material:
British Sign Language

What are Westminster Hall debates?

Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons.

Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.

Debates in Westminster Hall take place on ‘general debate' motions expressed in neutral terms. These motions are worded ‘That this House has considered [a specific matter]'. This means that Westminster debates don’t end in a vote on a particular action or decision.

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