Holding answer received on 25 July 2019
The government currently provides funding for adult learners aged 19 and over to undertake British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), up to and including level 2. BSL forms part of the flexible local offer (non-statutory) and qualifications are either fully funded (if the learner is unemployed or participating in the low wage trial) or co-funded depending on the age, prior achievement and employment status of the learner. BSL qualifications at level 3 and above can be funded through an Advanced Learner Loan.
We have not undertaken any recent assessment of the impact of costs on learners looking to participate in BSL courses, therefore we are unable provide a formal assessment of the impacts of cost on participation levels. However, the department publishes the National Aims Report showing the number of further education and skills enrolments by individual learning aim, broken down by different type of provision including BSL aims. Only aims with 50 or more enrolments per year are included in this report. This report can be found at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777927/FEandSkills-National-Aims-1718-Final_v2.xlsx.
From the start of the 2019/20 academic year approximately 50% of the AEB will be devolved to 6 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and delegated to the Mayor of London acting through the Greater London Authority (GLA). From that date the MCAs/GLA will be responsible for commissioning and funding AEB provision for learners in their areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency will be responsible for funding AEB provision, including BSL provision, for learners in non-devolved areas.