Sign Bilingual Mission Statement
'A Sign bilingual education promotes equal access and entitlement to the language, culture and heritage of deaf and hearing communities. In so doing, it empowers schools and services to provide the means by which their pupils can gain access to communicative, linguistic, cognitive, academic, social and emotional development.'
Sign Bilingual Education: Definition
A sign bilingual child is one who uses two or more languages in their daily life, at least one of which is a sign language. A Sign bilingual education is an approach to the education of deaf children which, in the UK, uses BSL and English.
Sign Bilingual Education: Philosophy
The philosophy of the sign bilingual approach to education has its roots in a linguistic and cultural minority view of deafness and a social model of disability. It is based on recognition of the following:
• Equality of opportunity regardless of language, ethnicity, race, gender, and disability
• The value of diversity in society, including linguistic and cultural plurality
• The language and culture of Deaf people
• That deaf children have the same potential for language and learning as hearing children and the right to access to the knowledge, skills, and experiences available to hearing children, in an appropriate and relevant curriculum
Sign Bilingual Education: Policy
• The terms used to describe deaf children reflect linguistic and cultural preferences.
• Deaf children are expected to achieve the same levels of educational attainment, social responsibility, employment and citizenship as their hearing counterparts.
• Decisions made about deaf children’s education and educational requirements are based on their strengths and abilities, not on what they are perceived as being unable to do.
• Deaf pupils are members of the hearing and Deaf communities.
• BSL has a significant role in the development and education of deaf pupils.