New Council aims to represent British Sign Language teachers

An organisation has been created to represent British Sign Language (BSL) teachers in Scotland.

It is the first time that an organisation has been established that is open to all people who teach BSL, regardless of the curriculum that they use in their teaching. The group, to be called the Scottish Teaching Council of BSL (STCBSL), held its first conference at the end of April.

Gary Quinn, secretary of STCBSL and BSL sign language tutor at Heriot-Watt's School of Management and Languages said, "In recent years there has been support to increase the number of BSL/English interpreters operating in Scotland but there has not been an organisation previously that represented all BSL teachers.

"The Council's remit is to support existing BSL teachers but also to provide a network for those who might be thinking of teacher training."

The council draws its members from across Scotland and the newly appointed committee will now work closely with the members to agree the organisation's priorities and the strategies to achieve them. A key aim is to establish agreed standards for language teaching and set up on-going training and continuing professional development (CPD) events since, historically, there have not been clear qualification and progression routes for BSL teachers.

Heriot-Watt University has played its role in this provision having run a Graduate Diploma in Teaching BSL Tutors course at the university in 2008 and 2011.