BSL lessons should initially be incorporated into weekly sessions lasting 30 minutes, spanning the duration of Nursery education. For pupils in Reception classes and above, it is advisable to introduce one BSL lesson per week, for instance, through hour-long sessions integrated into the school timetable. The consistent use of BSL in daily classroom activities and other lessons is encouraged, fostering the reinforcement of BSL skills and ensuring their proficient acquisition. This approach supports pupils in their language development, reinforcing previously taught BSL concepts.
While there is no legal mandate for the provision of BSL, the time allocation and curriculum organisation are not specified. Schools are encouraged to determine the most suitable approach for their setting and pupils. BSL instruction can be effectively integrated into, for example, English lessons, History courses, or other subjects. The holistic learning of a language is recommended, incorporating lessons and community involvement for a richer BSL acquisition. Using signing photos or graphics in, for example, class displays, books and worksheets, encourages bilingual practice and enhances the learning experience.
To immerse pupils in practical BSL experiences, we encourage school trips to Deaf schools, Deaf clubs, and Deaf organisations, as well as visits to events such as Deaf or signing theatre performances throughout the year.
To provide real-world exposure, Deaf role models and proficient BSL users should be invited for interactive sessions, fostering engagement, for example, through question-and-answer sessions. Schools are urged to explore collaborative opportunities with Deaf schools for joint projects or events, promoting the active use of BSL and the practical application of acquired skills.
The BSL Curriculum Working Group’s aim is to establish a comprehensive sign language curriculum accessible to all schools nationwide, ensuring both Deaf and hearing pupils can seamlessly integrate British Sign Language into their educational experience. The BSL Curriculum is tailored for mainstream pupils, particularly those unfamiliar or new to BSL, ensuring a systematic progression in learning from Nursery to Further Education. For native BSL users and Deaf pupils in Deaf schools, the curriculum can be extended to support advanced language development. This is detailed further in the "Age Groups and Progression" section.