A QUALIFICATION for British Sign Language (BSL) should be introduced into the Scottish curriculum, SNP delegates agreed.

More children should be taught BSL in primary and secondary schools as well as promoting the job as a BSL interpreter as a career pathway could help plug the current gaps.

Brian Ferguson, South Lanarkshire councillor, was the first deaf BSL user elected to a council in Scotland.

He told delegates, through BSL, that despite there being an estimated 6000 deaf BSL users in Scotland who need interpreting services, there are only around 50 to 60 interpreters.

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This means there is one interpreter for every 109 deaf BSL users.

Ferguson told delegates: “BSL users experience problems with bank accounts, they need emergency appointments with their dentists and GPs, or even invited to zoom meetings at very short notice, just like everyone else.

“However, if an interpreter isn't available, and BSL users cannot attend it they must reschedule or face exclusion.”

The National:

Ferguson proposed the motion using only British Sign Language, a first for the party

Ferguson added that bringing in a BSL language qualification and rolling out class to primary and secondary skills would have a huge impact.

He said: “Deaf BSL tutors - they are the catalyst of change.

“Bringing their skills into education and ensuring that BSL is included in the language curriculum will cultivate future BSL interpreters and help fill this huge gap.

“It will also provide another positive destination for some of our young students.”

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Karen Adam MSP spoke about her experience growing up as the child of a deaf adult, her father.

She said that when someone sees her signing with her dad they frequently say to her that they wish to learn BSL themselves.

Adam also said that at times she has been “disgusted” by the treatment her father has received such as being “infantilised or ignored”.

Adam said: “Imagine a world where all our children in Scotland were taught to sign BSL in school.

The National:

Adam said that it was long overdue for BSL to become part of the school curriculum

“Imagine a Scotland where everyone could communicate to each other in BSL, in our schools and homes. And in youth interactions, workplaces and health settings, and in Parliament.

"Just imagine we want a more inclusive Scotland and this will be a huge advance in that fight for an equal and fairer country.

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“Conference, my dad is in his 70s now, this is long overdue.

“Please support this resolution and make us a world leading country as a nation full of signers.”

The motion passed unanimously with 419 votes in favour.