Letter to the Education Minister about BSL classes for parents of deaf children

The Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education


Dear Robert,

I am writing to you on behalf of constituents who are concerned by the lack of free British Sign Language (BSL) classes for parents and guardians of deaf children. 

I have noted the Government’s recent response to a petition and that funding is available for parents and guardians to learn BSL up to Level 2 from devolved institutions. I have also noted that the National Deaf Children’s Society has found that 43% of local authorities do not provide, fund or commission any sign language courses for families in their area. Furthermore, no funding at all is provided for BSL classes above Level 2, meaning any parent wanting to learn BSL to a higher standard to be able to better communicate with their child must either pay for these expensive courses out of their own pocket, or get into debt by taking out a loan. The Government claims to ‘recognise how important it is for parents and guardians of deaf children to be able to access a British Sign Language (BSL) course’ yet has taken no additional steps to realise this and ensure that parents and guardians can actually access BSL classes. On the contrary, it has systematically slashed local authority budgets to the bone for 13 years and then sought to point the finger of blame at them when anything beyond the most basic of services cannot be provided.

It is absolutely heart-breaking that some parents and guardians cannot communicate with their own children because they cannot afford to pay to learn BSL. No child should be forced into a situation where they feel isolated and lonely because they cannot communicate effectively with their parents, and no parent should have to pay to communicate with their child.  

I am therefore in full support of providing free BSL classes to families of deaf children and would be grateful if you could outline the Department of Education’s response to these points. Providing free BSL classes could have significant benefits for countless parents and children across England and I hope you will look again at this situation and commit to making the necessary funding available to local authorities.

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours sincerely

Reply to letter: 

Join The Discussion

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.