Introducing Alison Hendry, the University's first British Sign Language Development Officer
Following the passing of the British Sign Language (BSL) (Scotland) Act in 2015, there was a requirement placed on public bodies to produce BSL Plans explaining how they will improve their services to be more accessible for BSL users. The University established a BSL Working Group, which had very wide representation including a deaf BSL-using student, deaf and hearing BSL-using staff and academic and professional services staff as well as a third sector involvement from a deaf organisation.
In October of 2019, Alison Hendry was appointed as the BSL Development Officer in October 2019. Alison’s role as the BSL Officer is to oversee the implementation of the BSL Plan. To date, this post is the only one of its kind in any UK higher or further education institution, with a full focus on the BSL Plan and its action points. Alison left her role as BSL Officer in June 2023 to join the Moray House School of Education and Sport as Student Adviser.
What is the University of Edinburgh's BSL Plan?
The BSL Plan is made up of 10 long-term goals and 54 actions. throughout the University of Edinburgh. The plan aspires to ensure better accessibility for BSL users in all aspects of university life such as accessing services, increased knowledge and understanding of BSL as a language, provision of accessible learning, increasing the confidence of the BSL community to attend university, enabling BSL users to be involved with the University as a student, as a member of staff or as a visitor.
Progress of work to date:
A detailed Summary Report is available to view here. This provides information about work completed and work in progress up to the end of 2021, with an updated report expected before the publication of a new BSL Plan due in 2024. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.