HL Deb 09 September 2003 vol 652 cc117-8WA
Lord Harris of Haringey

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What provisions are being made to ensure that students, professionals and public agencies have access to British Sign Language training at the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People to NVQ and degree level in London. [HL4294]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

A wide range of courses and qualifications in the use of British Sign Language (BSL) is available throughout the United Kingdom, including London.

The Government made a position statement on 18 March recognising British Sign Language (BSL) as a language in its own right regularly used by a significant number of people. At the same time, the Government announced that they would make available £1 million to fund a discrete programme of initiatives to support the statement. Among its priorities is increasing opportunities for people to learn BSL to a professional level. A working group comprising key government departments and organisations of and for deaf people, including the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People, has been established to advise on priorities for allocating the additional funding. We will respond to the working group's recommendations in due course.