Home Page

BSL Resources/Activities

British Sign Language 


Today, BSL is used in increasing numbers of public places and is seen on television, at theatres, in universities and at public meetings and conferences. Since the 1980s, most residential schools for Deaf children have closed and children are now educated in 'mainstream' schools with hearing children, so their access to BSL and other Deaf people is more limited. However, the language is still a central focus of many Deaf people's lives so that, for them, to be Deaf is to be a signer of BSL.


Facts and figures

  • There are about 11 million people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • There are more than 48,000 deaf children in the UK - 41,261 in England, 2,374 in Wales, 2,942 in Scotland and 1,497 in Northern Ireland
  • BSL is the first or preferred language of about 70,000 deaf people in the UK
  • BSL is not a translation of English - it has its own linguistics and a very different grammatical structures to English
  • The government acknowledged it as an official language in 2003.