British Sign Language (Training)

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 7 June 2007.

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Photo of Stewart Maxwell Stewart Maxwell Scottish National Party 11:40, 7 June 2007

The Government accepts the need to explore additional ways in which it can further increase the number of registered BSL/English interpreters. In the previous session of Parliament, the previous First Minister promised to double the number of BSL interpreters, but there has been an increase of only about 20 per cent. Clearly, there is much further to go on the issue. The Scottish Executive's equality unit has recruited a BSL and linguistic access project manager with expertise in BSL to develop a detailed plan for improving linguistic access for deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people.

The member mentioned the curriculum, which, in Scotland, is not prescribed by statute. However, it is important that we help children in school who have such difficulties to communicate effectively. I will certainly encourage as much as possible the ability of children to use BSL in and outwith school.