Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2019

Deaf learners in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision – Supportive practices and guidance in teaching and learning

What is this?

​​This guidance provides information and advice on working with deaf learners in the ESOL learning setting. The accompanying samples of learning and teaching materials shows one approach to working with a group of deaf learners from another country​.

Who is this for?

​This guidance and accompanying resources will be of interest to ESOL practitioners and providers who have deaf ESOL learners within their services. Sectors most relevant for ESOL provision include community learning and development, college and third sector organisations. They may also be of interest to schools delivering ESOL.

​​How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

The guidance is divided into sections including general advice, examples of learner profiles (developed from the case studies) and a focus on one profile and the strategies and approaches taken.

The learning and teaching materials provide examples of an approach by one practitioner working with a group of deaf learners in an ESOL class. Materials were adapted from SQA ESOL learning support materials.​Some content will have been edited.​

Improvement questions​

  • How good are we at ensuring inclusion – how do we know?
  • How effective are we at identifying and removing barriers to access and participation?
  • How effectively do we recognise and take account of identity and lived experience of barriers to participation?​


PDF file: ​​​​Deaf Learners in English for Speakers of Other Languages (329 KB)

PDF file: SQA ESOL Qualifications (SCQF Level 2 - 6) (404 KB)​​​

PDF file: ESOL Course - Unit 1 (538 KB)

PDF file: ESOL Course - Unit 2 (725 KB)​

PDF file: ESOL Course - Unit 3 (759 KB)

PDF file: ESOL Course - Unit 4 (383 KB)

PDF file: ESOL Course - Vocabulary Card (1.1 MB)

Explore this exemplar

What was done?​

In developing this guidance document, a range of ESOL practitioners who had experience of working with deaf learners were consulted. A number of case studies were gathered which gave a general picture of t​​he deaf learners from other countries accessing ESOL provision. Strategies and approaches were also gathered. SQA provided knowledge and information on assessment arrangements in relation to undertaking SQA ESOL assessments. Advice based on practitioners’ experiences was also gathered​.


Through Scotland’s ESOL Strategy and its implementation, a working group was established to look at specific actions. This included the need to produce information to help support providers who are working with deaf learners from other countries . While this group of learners is a relatively small group and delivery was happening in pockets of provision across the country, the gathering and collation of information to develop this guidance would prove useful to practitioners and providers. It also supports a key strategic objective to support deaf ESOL learners to access, participate as well as progress in provision.

What was the impact?​

This guidance and the sample resources will provide useful information for practitioners and providers who are planning ESOL provision for deaf learners from other countries. The guidance takes account of good practice in general when working with deaf learners. It also considers other factors that may be unique to a deaf learner coming from another country.