Welcome to the Deaf Education in Scotland and Wales website, run by Rachel O’Neill at the University of Edinburgh, and Rob Wilks at Cardiff University. The website was originally focused on deaf education and the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 but the project has since expanded to include Wales.
As both Rachel and Rob are interested in the impact of the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 on deaf education in Scotland, this website was set up to contribute to the review of the first national British Sign Language (BSL) plan (National Plan) in late 2021, and to act as a discussion point for deaf young people themselves, the wider Deaf community, parents, teachers, third sector organisations, academics and other professionals about what changes the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 has so far made in relation to deaf education. The impact of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 on deaf education report was published on 12 November 2021. This report was the culmination of phase 1 of our research.
In phase 2, funded by the University of South Wales Early Career Researchers Prime Pump Fund (where Rob Wilks previously worked), comparisons of the Scottish approach were undertaken with Wales. Of interest was the contrast between the two nations and particularly the role of the respective education systems in supporting BSL. In Scotland, the push has been to explore how hearing children can be encouraged to learn BSL (as opposed to deaf children learning BSL). In contrast, without a BSL Act in Wales, the focus has been to include BSL in the national curriculum which includes deaf children.
This new Curriculum for Wales started in September 2022 for all learners aged 3 to 16 coming within its purview in phases, and includes BSL within the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience for deaf BSL users, as well as for others learning BSL as a second, third or subsequent language.