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BSL GCSE; Public consultation available now

Students are one step closer to the British Sign Language (BSL) GCSE being taught in schools, as the Government launches a 12-week consultation on the content of the new qualification.

This is a huge milestone as the new GCSE will be key to helping inclusivity within education and will help break down communication barriers for deaf BSL users.

We want to take this opportunity to thank to 17-year-old, Daniel Jillings, who has campaigned for the qualification since the age of 12 (watch a documentary about his journey on the BSL Zone site here).

When will the GCSE be available?

The Government aims to introduce this for first teaching in schools from September 2025 as an optional subject and won't be part of the National Curriculum.

What will students learn?

  • Students will be taught around 1,000 signs and how to use them to communicate effectively with other signers for use in work, social and academic settings

  • They will develop ways of expressing and negotiating meaning through visual spatial language, communication and visual memory skills

  • Pupils will gain an understanding of the history of sign language in the UK

  • They will learn a new skill that might help them choose to study it further and develop a career

The Government said "We have also been working closely with subject experts, stakeholders, exam boards and schools to develop proposed content to ensure that this new GCSE is internationally recognised and accepted in school and college performance tables.

However, we are now seeking views on the new qualification, including the language skills to be studied and the role of history, from teachers, employers and the deaf and hearing communities before deciding on the exact curriculum."

You can now follow the link below to express your opinion about having a GCSE in BSL. This consultation closes at 5pm on 8 September 2023:

Watch the BSL video:

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