The government recognises that early access to language is essential to help children to learn and to thrive and it is vital that parents and carers are supported to communicate with the deaf and hearing-impaired children and young people that they care for.
The government currently provides funding for adult learners aged 19 and over to undertake British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications through the Adult Education Budget, up to and including level 2. BSL forms part of the local flexibility offer (non-statutory) and qualifications are either fully funded (if the learner is unemployed or participating in the low wage trial) or co-funded depending on the age, prior achievement and employment status of the learner. BSL qualifications at level 3 and above can be funded through an Advanced Learner Loan.
In addition, the government has funded the development of a family sign language programme, through the I-sign programme, which is freely available at the National Deaf Children’s Society family sign language website, which can be found at the following link: https://www.ndcs.org.uk/information-and-support/language-and-communication/sign-language/family-sign-language/.
The Children Act 1989 (as amended by the Children and Families Act 2014) requires local authorities to assess whether a parent carer within their area has need for social care support and, if so, what those needs are.
In relation to the assessment of the cost of learning British Sign Language on take-up of those courses among parents of deaf children, I refer the hon. Member to the answer the former Minister for Children and Families (Kemi Badenoch), my hon. Friend for Saffron Walden gave on 2 August 2019 to Question 280364.