Deaf pupils and St Albans MP join British Sign Language rally

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper with pupils from Heathlands School.

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper with pupils from Heathlands School. - Credit: Heathlands School

Students from a St Albans school for deaf children joined a rally for the British Sign Language (BSL) Bill in Trafalgar Square.

Four children from Heathlands School were invited on stage to talk about their hopes for the future and the importance of BSL.

Also speaking at the rally was Rose Ayling-Ellis, who was the first deaf person to compete – and win - on Strictly Come Dancing, as well as deaf and disabled rights campaigner David Buxton.

BSL was recognised as an “official” language by the UK government in 2003, but it does not have legal protection. Once the bill is passed into law, public services would be legally required to follow guidance on how to put BSL in place.

The BSL Bill passed its third reading unopposed on Friday, the day of the rally.

The Heathlands pupils were joined by St Albans MP Daisy Cooper, who said: “I’m really impressed with how the school has involved and engaged all its pupils in the Bill’s progress – from making posters and placards for the rallies, to watching Parliamentary livestreams of debates on the Bill.

“It’s not enough for BSL to just be ‘recognised’ as a language of its own right – it deserves to have legal status. It’ll be a momentous day for deaf people in the UK once this bill is passed into law.”