Students in the UK are one step closer to being able to study British Sign Language (BSL) as a GCSE as the government launches a 12-week consultation on the content included in the qualification. The Government says that the new GCSE will help make education more inclusive.

British Sign Language was officially recognised as a language in the UK in 2022 after the BSL Bill was passed and became law.

The government aims to begin teaching this GCSE to pupils in England from September 2025. Pupils who study the new GCSE will learn how to use BSL in work, social and academic settings and they will be given an understanding of the history of sign language in the UK, the DfE has said.

The news has been welcomed by deaf charities and activists. Susan Daniels OBE, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

We’re delighted that a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) is now a step closer.

BSL is a native British language used by tens of thousands of people, so it’s only fair and right that BSL users should have the opportunity to achieve a GCSE in their own, legally recognised language. This qualification will help to break down communication barriers between deaf and hearing people and educate more people about the deaf community and culture.

We know there are incredibly high levels of support for a BSL GCSE among both deaf and hearing students, as well as from their parents. Our recent survey also found teachers overwhelmingly believe sign language would be a useful skill for both deaf and hearing students to learn.

As a Language Service Provider, we are delighted at the news that BSL will be added as a GCSE in the UK, we believe this a great opportunity to make the country more inclusive for the deaf community and offers a great learning experience for pupils that are interested in languages.