QMU’s British Sign Language Action Plan consultation aims to help Scotland be the best place for BSL users

By Press Office

Queen Margaret University (QMU) has launched its British Sign Language (BSL) action plan in a bid to ensure that the University helps Scotland become the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work and visit.

As a university that teaches BSL, QMU aims to lead the way in responding to the Scottish Government’s BSL (Scotland) Act 2015. The University is now seeking public comment on its draft BSL action plan that addresses guidance given through the Act.

With an international reputation across the health sciences professions, and world renowned research in speech and hearing sciences, QMU has recently responded to growing demand for BSL services by developing postgraduate level teaching in BSL. The University offers the UK’s first fully online master’s degree designed to upskill BSL/English interpreters. The newly validated MSc in BSL/English Interpreting from QMU is the only post registration master’s in the UK to focus on BSL interpreting, and the only academic course delivered online for registered sign language interpreters. For the first time, it allows interpreters to get accreditation for work in specialist fields such as healthcare, education, legal services, and mental health provision. QMU also offers modules that can be used as stepping stones to the full master’s programme.

Iliyan Stefanov, Head of Student Services at QMU explained: “The Scottish Government’s BSL National Plan, published last year, sets out Scotland’s ambition to be the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work and visit and means that public bodies must take action to meet those goals.

He continued: “QMU is totally committed to protecting and promoting BSL and our draft BSL plan is designed to address and go beyond the guidance given by the Scottish Government. We are working to develop a BLS-friendly culture that builds on our experience of supporting BSL users as students and staff, and our in-house expertise in providing our MSc BSL programme for registered BSL/English interpreters. By employing a part-time lecturer who is a BSL user, we will also develop new levels of awareness of BSL at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels across the university community.”

QMU’s action plan is ambitious and responsive, building on the University’s pre-existing commitment to BSL, which is continually shaped by national initiatives, local needs and the priorities of BSL users.

Iliyan Stefanov concluded: “We are extremely serious about our commitment to support BSL users and will be embedding our plan into our inclusive learning and teaching strategies and will continually encourage feedback from staff and students as to how we can improve and our delivery of education and support for BSL users.”

QMU welcomes comments on its draft plan in English and in BSL via video message at our BSL Facebook page.


Notes to Editor

For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University on T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239, E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk.

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