British Sign Language Plan

BSL Awareness training for Staff

Overview summary of BSL Awareness training for staff

Between April 2020 and May 2023, a total of 515 individuals within the University of Edinburgh (i.e. staff and students) attended British Sign Language (BSL) Awareness training which was delivered by the university's BSL Officer, Alison Hendry. The majority of the awareness training took place online due to the COVID19 situation; however in-person sessions were then offered to smaller groups. These were delivered initially as 3x 30 minute sessions, before changing the structure to half-day sessions to allow participants to fully absorb the information. 

The training covered a wide range of topics including but not limited to:

  • British Sign Language: a language in its own right
  • Relevant legislation
  • The University of Edinburgh's first-ever BSL Plan
  • How to work with BSL users (e.g. D/deaf individuals and BSL/English interpreters)
  • Deaf awareness tips


A pie chart with different coloured segments.
Percentage of department representatives attending BSL Awareness session

Staff from 109 university departments attended, with the majority of the sessions being offered widely throughout the university and individuals were free to join up, mixing with old and new colleagues. Some departments requested bespoke sessions in which the content was adapted slightly to meet their needs (e.g. more emphasis on producing accessible resources; how to follow processes of organising appropriate support; additional session to include the practical learning of BSL).



Some staff members have shared their thoughts on the training:

It was very nice to get a wider understanding of BSL - Training was well organised and good delivery!

This was really helpful and I feel more confident in being inclusive towards BSL users.

I hope to continue to develop my skills and understanding of BSL, and encourage others to do so also.

I learnt a lot in the session, and feel much better educated and knowledgeable than before.

I especially enjoyed learning this from the perspective of a BSL user in the community.

Older testimonies can be found in the university's bulletin magazine, accessed on this link.


Staff can now access the slides that were used in the training - please note it requires an EASE log-in. The information contained within the slides is correct as of May 2023, and may be subject to change dependent on certain factors. If you have any questions about this, please email