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Summary

  1. Holyrood holds a minute's silence as a mark of respect, sympathy and solidarity with the victims of the terror attack at Westminster
  2. Nicola Sturgeon is quizzed by opposition MSPs during first minister's questions
  3. 'Above all we stand in solidarity with London,' says first minister
  4. 'We will not be silenced and we will not be cowed,' says Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

That ends Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament

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That ends Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 23 March 2017, the day MSPs united in solidarity with their sister parliament Westminster and the people of London.

The acting conveners motion is agreed to unanimously

acting conveners motion
Scottish Parliament

The acting conveners motion is agreed to unanimously.

The government motion on its BSL national plan is unanimously agreed to

The motion
Scottish Parliament

Acting conveners motion

Motion
Scottish Parliament
Acting conveners motion

'This has been a very consensual debate on a very important issue'

BBC BSL interpreter
bbc
BBC BSL interpreter

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald says skill level training and regulation will be looked at going forward.

Mr McDonald says the Scottish government has set up a working group to look at the recommendations of the Education Committee's inquiry into attainment.

The minister says the positive example of Dingwall Academy should be looked at, as should Stoneywood Primary School who have established a BSL club.

He says:  "This has been a very consensual debate on a very important issue."

Gallery
BBC

Government recognise the shortage of interpreters

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald says the government recognise the shortage of interpreters and it will work towards improving this.

Mr McDonald says the government are clear that there must be adequately qualified teachers in schools and it will work towards supporting local authorities to achieve that.

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald
BBC
Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald

The childcare and early years minister says it is great to see so many individuals in communities trying to promote and improve awareness of BSL.

He says he hopes that it will not be long before we have the first deaf MSP in the chamber, adding that the first blind MSP was his colleague Dennis Robertson.

Minister thanks BSL interpreters and the National Advisory Group


          Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald  thanks the BSL interpreters
bbc
Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald thanks the BSL interpreters

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald thanks the interpreters at the back of the chamber who have spent the afternoon signing the debate.

Mr McDonald says three members of the National Advisory Group are in the gallery today and he thanks them for their work.

'The BSL plan is a huge step in the right direction'

Conservative MSP Liz Smith says legislation is not enough in itself.

Ms Smith says the education committee is looking at ASN pupils.

She says the student experience can be one of social exclusion and student unions are doing a lot of work in this area but there is clearly more to do.

Conservative MSP Liz Smith
bbc
Conservative MSP Liz Smith

The Tory MSP says she would worry greatly if too many BSL pupils are losing out because they feel they cannot contribute to extra-curricular activities.

She concludes saying for far too long the deaf community has had a raw deal.

The BSL plan is a huge step in the right direction, she says.

'If we are to get it right for every child then users of BSL must not be excluded'

teacher teaching child BSL
BBC

Ms Smith says it goes without saying that every child should have the opportunity to achieve in life.

"If we are to get it right for every child then users of BSL must not be excluded," she says.

The Tory MSP says the key issue is the attainment gap and there is a focus on resources and a funding "squeeze".

Ms Smith says it is worrying that 11.8% of deaf pupils leave school without qualifications. 

Tory MSP praise Mark Griffin and government for 'extraordinary work'

Conservative MSP Liz Smith
bbc
Conservative MSP Liz Smith

Conservative  MSP Liz Smith starts by thanking Mark Griffin and the Scottish government for the "extraordinary work they have done to get us to this stage".

Ms Smith says there have been some very compelling anecdotes this afternoon bringing home exactly what this progress means on to the people on the ground.

She says the priority should be to improve academic attainment of deaf children

Ms Smith says this goal is hampered by an absence of a complete data set for deaf children.

She says if there is a criticism of the government's plan it is in the educational provision for the dear.

Labour MSP urges colleagues to back the motion

Labour MSP Mark Griffin
BBC

Mr Griffin says 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents and the issue of parents not always having access to support in BSL must be rectified. 

The Labour MSP says urges his colleagues to support the motion at decision time and to respond to the consultation. 

Labour MSP says deaf BSL users do not define themselves as disabled

Deafbooks
Deafbooks
Fingerspelling - the alphabet on your hands

Labour MSP Mark Griffin says BSL is the indigenous manual language in Scotland and is a distinct language.

Mr Griffin says deaf people are part of a cultural and linguistic minority.

He says deaf BSL users do not define themselves as disabled, as they just use a different language.

The Labour MSP says the government is committed to adapting services in its consultation.

He says the reason Finland has so many more BSL interpreters, where many are family members which is not always appropriate, for example in a sensitive health consultation.

BSL is the first language of many deaf people in Scotland

Labour MSP Mark Griffin
BBC
Labour MSP Mark Griffin

In closing for his party, Labour MSP Mark Griffin says it has been an important debate and that he hopes it demonstrates the importance of BSL in society.

Mr Griffin says this is a "fantastic example" of a minority group in society lobbying parliament on an important issue which results in action. 

The Labour MSP says BSL is the first language of many deaf people in Scotland. 

'I am ZS'

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson
bbc
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson signs: "I am ZS."

This refers to when he was a software engineer and he had to choose a sign and "SS" was already taken.

Mr Stevenson says lets support people to engage with BSL but also support those who are deaf. 

'The key will be the delivery of the plan's proposals on the ground'

Miles Briggs
BBC
Tory MSP Miles Briggs has been learning BSL and he demonstrates the sign for President Donald Trump saying "you can probably guess what it is".

Tory MSP Miles Briggs says today's debate is a good opportunity to feed into the consultation.

Mr Briggs says this Bill rights attracts cross-party support. 

The Tory MSP says he has been learning BSL and it is a rich language. He says he has learned the new sign for President Donald Trump as he demonstrates what it is. 

He says he agrees that all information on health should be translated into BSL and easily accessible. 

Mr Briggs says Heathrow airport has signs in BSL and he'd be interested in how that can be developed in Scotland. 

"The key will be the delivery of the plan's proposals on the ground," he says. 

'We need to do better for deaf and deafblind pupils in our schools'

Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone
BBC
Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone

Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone says she welcomes the consultation on the national plan.

Ms Johnstone says 90% of deaf babies are born to hearing parents and these parents face real challenges in being able to communicate with their children. 

The Greens MSP says she welcomes the plans to give those families more support.

"We need to do better for deaf and deafblind pupils in our schools," she says, pointing out that deaf pupils are often more advanced in BSL than their teachers.

She asks if addressing this by 2023 is "rapid enough action". 

Labour MSP says it is 'simply shocking' that attainment is so low for deaf children

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
bbc
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant welcomes the consultation and pays tribute to Cathy Craigie and Mark Griffin for their efforts on behalf of BSL.

Ms Grant says it is right the draft plan focuses rightly on access to education and services

She says it is "simply shocking" that attainment is so low for deaf children.

This is a failure of communication, she says and goes on to welcome the suggestion BSL should be on the curriculum to increase awareness.

Ms Grant says it is difficult to see how 80 BSL interpreters will adequately meet demand, as there around 3,850 deaf children in Scotland.

'This is about tackling social isolation and mental health issues'

SNP MSP Maree Todd
BBC
SNP MSP Maree Todd welcomes visitors to the gallery in BSL

SNP MSP Maree Todd welcomes those to the gallery in BSL.

Ms Todd says Scotland was the first country in the UK to recognise BSL as a language.

The SNP MSP says each country has it's own national sign language.

"The ability to say I love you," should not be underestimated, she says, adding that people who are deaf should be able to communicate on aspects of everyday life. 

"This is about tackling social isolation and mental health issues," she says. 

'We all benefit from working towards a more inclusive society'

Tavish Scott
BBC

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says: "We all benefit from working towards a more inclusive society."

Mr Scott says the government's draft plan notes that we should take advantage of a child's desire to learn, by teaching BSL in schools.

The Lib Dem MSP says his own office does not have a interpreter and a video link would help with this but would require improvement in broadband connections on the islands.

He says his party supports the motion and welcomes the consultation. 

Access to leisure and sport for BSL users could be improved apon

Labour MSP Mark Griffin says access to leisure and sport for BSL users could be improved apon.

Mr Griffin says he has been approached by a deaf athlete who is having to fund-raise for the forthcoming deaf Olympics.

He says he hopes that the funding of deaf athletes will be kept in mind.

There must be a commitment for a recognised SQA qualification in BSL says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Mark Griffin
BBC
Labour MSP Mark Griffin

Labour MSP Mark Griffin says society is missing out on the contribution that deaf and deafblind people can make.

Mr Griffin says, in order to reduce the attainment gap between hearing and deaf pupils, the skills of teachers needs to be looked at.

He says there must be a commitment from the SQA for a recognised qualification in BSL for pupils. 

Labour MSP behind BSL Act says there still remains an unawareness of BSL

Labour MSP Mark Griffin
bbc
Labour MSP Mark Griffin

Labour MSP Mark Griffin says he is truly delighted to speak in the debate today and he thanks the government for its extensive consultation document.

Mr Griffin says BSL is a visual gestural language that uses space and movement and has a different grammatical structure than English.

He says deaf people who use BSL are part of a recognised cultural minority.

Mr Griffin says even though the history of sign language goes back so far there still remains an unawareness of BSL, but that is being addressed.

'Deafness is not a learning disability'

Pupils learning sign language together
BBC
Pupils learning sign language together

Mr Balfour says the provision needs to extend beyond classroom activity to social activity.

The Tory MSP uses an example of a pupil in his constituency who gets BSL support in the classroom but feels isolated in the playground during break times. 

"Deafness is not a learning disability," he says, and there is no reason deaf people should achieve any less than their hearing peers".

He says a child who is born deaf should still be able to lead a fulfilling life. 

"Teachers of the deaf are a lifeline for many deaf children but theses services have been squeezed," he says.

The Tory MSP says the demand for sign language services is set to become much higher

Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour
bbc
Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour

Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour says his party will back the government motion and congratulates the minister for having a motion that does not mention Brexit on a Thursday afternoon.

Mr Balfour says Mark Griffin can be very proud of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act.

He encourages people whose first or preferred language is BSL to respond to the consultation.

The Tory MSP says the demand for sign language services is set to become much higher, with the awareness raising detailed in the plan.

Consultation in now live and can be responded to in English or BSL

Members of the public watch on from the gallery
BBC
Members of the public watch on from the gallery

Mr McDonald says the Scottish parliament is the first to provide legislation promoting BSL.

The childcare and early years minister says the consultation in now live and can be responded to in English or BSL.

He says today is an opportunity for members in the chamber to contribute to the consultation. 

There are over 50 actions in the BSL draft plan

Mr McDonald
bbc

Mr McDonald say mental health information will be translated into BSL over the lifetime of this plan.

He says there is shortage of BSL English interpreters.

The minister says there are variations within BSL and this will be considered.

He says there are over 50 actions in the draft plan.

'We are looking to remove barriers'

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald says in education the goal is children who use BSL reach their potential.

Mr McDonald says: "We are looking to remove barriers."

He says the government is looking at guidance for offering BSL as a language choice.

The minister says the government wants to ensure BSL users have fair and equal access into employment opportunities.

He says over the next six years information on national health screening and immunisation programmes is translated into BSL.

First draft will set out what the government will be able to achieve in the next six years

Mark McDonald
BBC

Mr McDonald says deaf and deafblind BSL users will be able to make informed choices about all aspects of their lives.

The childcare and early years minister says the draft national plan has been described as a testimony of the commitment of the Scottish government to BSL.

He thanks the Deaf Sector Partnership and the National Advisory Group (NAG)

Mr McDonald says the plan centres around ten action points and the the first draft will set out what the government will be able to achieve in the next six years. 

How can you get involved?

The closing date for this survey is 31 May 2017. 

British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation
Scottish government
British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation
British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation
Scottish government
British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation

British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation debate

British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation
Scottish government
British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation

Here is the  British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation.

The consultation was launched by the Scottish government and the minister responsible for British Sign Language (BSL), Mark MacDonald, who want to know what people think of the draft British Sign Language National Plan 2017 to 2023. 

BSL is a language. 

It is the language that Deaf and Deafblind people use in every day life. 

A group of people called the BSL National Advisory Group have been working together to help develop the plan.   

British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation
Scottish government
British Sign Language (BSL) Consultation

Background: The British Sign Language (Scotland) Act


          The gallery celebrates with the passing of Mark Griffin's British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill
bbc
The gallery celebrates with the passing of Mark Griffin's British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill

MSPs debated the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously on Thursday, 17 September 2015, before passing the bill.  

Click here to watch the Stage 3 debate on the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill.

The British Sign Language Bill was introduced by Mark Griffin.

The Labour MSP, who had two grandparents who were deaf-blind, said the bill sould lead to the naming and shaming of local authorities who are falling short.

Labour MSP Mark Griffin
bbc
Labour MSP Mark Griffin

The British Sign Language (Sotland) Act aims to to raise awareness of British Sign Language (BSL) and improve access to services for those using the language by requiring the Scottish government and listed local bodies to publish and implement their own plans for how they will promote the use of the language. 

It also makes provision for the preparation and publication of a British Sign Language National Plan for Scotland and by requiring certain authorities to prepare and publish their own British Sign Language Plans in connection with the exercise of their functions.

Click here for the SPICE briefing on the Act in BSL.

British Sign Language National Plan debate

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald
bbc
Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh says the parliament is providing BSL translation for the debate.    

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald says he is pleased to open the debate on the first draft BSL plan.

Mr McDonald says when the BSL Act was passed the gallery erupted in happiness and he pays tribute to Labour MSP Mark Griffin for introducing the bill and to Cathy Craigie. 

BSL signer for the gallery
bbc
BSL signer for the gallery

BSL translation on SPTV

Lib Dem MSP asks about staffing levels for ELC expansion

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says Mr McDonald has brought all the parties together broadly speaking.

However he ask about workforce planning suggesting thousands of extra staff were needed to fulfil the plan.

Mr McDonald says in terms of the staffing numbers part the recruitment campaign will be launched in the Autumn. 

He says the government is focused on having the right numbers and quality of staff.

Provider neutral approach raised

Greens MSP Alison Johnstone says her party have been calling for a living wage for all those in childcare and welcomes this.

Ms Johnstone asks the minister about the provider neutral approach and if the minister agrees that all children should have access to GTCS qualified teacher.

Greens MSP Alison Johnstone
BBC
Greens MSP Alison Johnstone

Mr McDonald says the discussions he has had with local government has focused on the provider neutral approach being necessary. 

He says the provider neutral approach allows of all in childcare to be brought in to the process.

The childcare and early years minister says the government wants to make sure there are as many routes into the profession as possible.

SUMMARY: 31 step delivery model for expansion to 1,140

Childcare
Thinkstock

Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald says parents will have more choice when accessing their child’s funded nursery provision.

Mr McDonald says the development of the delivery model known as funding follows the child is just one of 31 steps being taken in the next year to ensure the expansion to 1,140 hours is founded on quality, flexibility, accessibility and affordability.

He says it will be underpinned by a new national standard for funded provider status, which he says ensures the highest quality of learning and care is available consistently, regardless of postcode.