FOI22/23 038 BSL Qualifications

Date published: 29/09/2022

FOI reference: 22/23 038

Date received: 26/07/2022

Date responded: 17/08/2022

Information requested

I am looking for details of any discussions (letters, emails, reports/ papers about introducing a BSL SCHOOL qualification e.g. a Nat 5, including information relating to the decision not to "develop a National Certificate in BSL". I'd like to better understand the rationale for this. Please provide information e,g, reports/ recommendations/ emails relating to this decision


In September 2015 a briefing paper was prepared for SQA’s then Chief Executive, which raised the possibility of developing new qualifications in British Sign Language (BSL). The briefing note is attached, entitled ‘BSL Update Sept 2015’.

After the briefing paper was produced, the Scottish Government arranged a series of three workshops to discuss taking forward BSL in Scottish schools. These were held in November 2015, January 2016 and May 2016. We only have information relating to the May 2016 meeting and a transcript of this meeting is attached, entitled ‘Meeting Note of Building a Sustainable Framework for BSL in Schools’. Please note that the names of non-SQA staff have been redacted from the meeting note under section 38(1)(a) of the Act.

SQA participated fully in these workshops, along with other key partners, and presented in workshop 1 and workshop 3. A way forward, which involved a commitment to develop new group awards in BSL, was agreed to enhance existing qualification provision. These presentations are attached, entitled ‘BSL Seminar RQ’ and ‘BSL Seminar3 RQ’.  Following this, SQA agreed internally via its Business Case Group to develop and support centres with the new awards.

The Scottish Government created a National Plan for BSL, and our response to that draft is attached. As part of the final plan, we were tasked with developing new awards in BSL. The final plan can be found on the Scottish Government website using the following link:

British Sign Language (BSL): National Plan 2017 to 2023 - (


BSL Seminar Powerpoint 

BSL Seminar Powerpoint 

BSL Update September 2015 

Meeting Note of Building a Sustainable Framework 

SQA response to the draft natioanl plan on BSL