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A team from Heriot-Watt is leading the programme to promote the use of British Sign Language (BSL) in schools.

Heriot-Watt’s Professor Graham Turner, Director of the Centre for Translating and Interpreting Studies Scotland (CTISS), is leading the Programme Team for the National BSL Plan: Building a sustainable framework for British Sign Language in schools.

I am pleased and proud that the experience and expertise of the BSL team at Heriot-Watt will continue to be involved in rolling out the National BSL Plan.
Professor Graham Turner

Working with Gary Quinn, the CCTISS BSL Programme Coordinator, colleagues from The University of Edinburgh and representatives of key organisations in the Deaf sector, the Programme Team will build on the Scottish Parliament’s recent passing of the British Sign Language (BSL) (Scotland) Bill, which aims to enhance the opportunities available to Deaf people by promoting the use of BSL in Scotland.

The Bill was introduced in 2014 by Mark Griffin MSP, following years of developmental work with the Heriot-Watt BSL Team, through external committee roles, consultancy work with the Scottish Parliament and long-term liaison with the Scottish Government’s Equality Unit.  The BSL Team’s contribution will continue through the National BSL Planning process and will ensure that Heriot-Watt expertise is part of the development of the framework which will ensure the success of the Bill’s implementation.  It will be future Heriot-Watt BSL interpreter graduates who contribute to the effective delivery of the National Plan.

Professor Turner said, “I am delighted that the Bill has passed its third reading, with unanimous cross-party support.  But the real work starts now, and I am pleased and proud that the experience and expertise of the BSL team at Heriot-Watt will continue to be involved in rolling out the National BSL Plan, with the aim of significantly increasing the teaching of BSL within the Scottish education system.”