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.

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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.

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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.

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)

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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.

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