West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed the news that the Government will consult on the creation of a British Sign Language GCSE later this year, with the intention of introducing the subject in September 2025.
For many years, the Deaf community have been campaigning for a BSL GCSE, but despite a pilot qualification being created in 2015, both the Department for Education and Ofqual decided at that time not to pursue it.
Following the passing into Law of Rosie Cooper MP’s British Sign Language Act 2022, the Government now has an added responsibility to consider how they are promoting BSL within their departments. Having written to the Department for Education about the teaching of BSL in schools, MP Rosie was delighted to hear that the Government have begun the process of creating a BSL GCSE and are currently working with Ofqual on the content of the syllabus.
Rosie Cooper MP commented:
“A GCSE in British Sign Language may still be a few years away, but this is an incredible step forward, and really shows how far this wonderful language has come.
“When I introduced the BSL Bill to Parliament just over a year ago, I would not have believed the progress that would be made. We have seen an amazing cultural shift in support of deaf people and BSL, and the Government is now catching up with this change.
“BSL interpreters are desperately needed across the country, in hospitals, Jobcentres and schools. Not only is BSL a really fun and beautiful language but teaching it at GCSE will be a vital step on the way to getting more Registered Qualified Interpreters into the workforce, giving Deaf people greatly improved access to these public services.”