Victory in local fight helps deaf apprentices throughout England
“I am delighted that the Department for Education has confirmed today that as a result of my team and I taking up the case of Nottingham North lad Max Buxton,deaf apprentices throughout England Victory in local fight helps deaf apprentices throughout England will benefit from the recent policy change which recognised British Sign Language (BSL) as a suitable alternative to English. The DfE said that the changes will also apply to those who have already started on, but not completed an apprenticeship when the amendments to SASE come into effect.
This came as a result of me meeting with the then Skills Minister Nick Boles to ask that Max Buxton, a 17 year-old constituent of mine from Nottingham North, be allowed to progress in his apprenticeship by recognising British Sign Language [BSL] as a suitable alternative to English. This change will not only benefit Max but thousands of other people too.” said Graham Allen MP.
“The policy change will allow BSL qualifications to be accepted as an alternative to functional skills in English. This should be complete by the 2017-18 funding year, soon enough to benefit Max as well as many other apprentices for whom BSL is their first language.”
“Furthermore, following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has proposed a pilot scheme in which exemptions to the English and Maths requirements would be made for disabled apprentices who don’t use BSL. This could potentially be tremendous news for hundreds of people, allowing some disabled apprentices to work on their Maths and English at an appropriate standard without being disadvantaged in their careers. I hope to hear that this pilot is successful and the Government ensures that positive progress such as this continues.”
These developments came about after Graham and the Buxton family campaigned for Max, in conjunction with the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf and the National Deaf Children’s Society. This was brought about by recent policy changes, which mean that the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) don’t release funds beyond level two unless apprentice students complete Functional Skills Level 1 in English. This blocks many young people like Max whose hearing loss means that written English is disproportionately difficult.
Notes for editor: Governemnt announcement in full: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/equal-opportunities-for-people-who-use-british-sign-language