British Sign Language (BSL)

BSL was recognised by the government as a language in its own right in March 2003 and is the first or preferred language of an estimated 70,000 deaf people in the UK.

BSL is a visual-gestural language, with its own grammar and principles, which are completely different from the grammatical structure of English.

BSL is not taught at Key Stage 3 but is available as an option to study at Key Stage 4, where qualifications at Levels 1 and 2 may be achieved over the course of two years.

Level 1 Award in British Sign Language Download Specification (PDF)
Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language Download Specification (PDF)

Level 1 Award in BSL

This qualification is designed to teach students to communicate with deaf people in BSL on a range of topics that involve simple, everyday language use. They will gain basic skills and confidence in production and reception of BSL.

At the end of the qualification, students will be able to:

  • understand and use a limited range of simple words and sentences in BSL
  • take part in simple, everyday conversations in BSL
  • give and follow simple directions or instructions in BSL
  • give and follow simple familiar statements or descriptions in BSL

Unit BSL101:  Introduction to BSL - assessed by practical assessment of skills
Unit BSL102:  Conversational BSL  - assessed by conversation in BSL
Unit BSL103:  Communicate in BSL about everyday life - assessed by conversation in BSL

Level 2 Certificate in BSL

In Level 2, students develop their skills to communicate with deaf people using BSL in a range of everyday situations, participating in longer and more varied conversations than at Level 1.

At the end of the qualification, students will have:

  • developed communication in BSL about real life, routine, and daily experiences
  • learned to deal with most routine communication
  • enough understanding of grammar to cope with some non-routine communication
  • learned some regional variations in sign language.

Unit BSL201:  BSL Receptive Skills - assessed by multiple-choice examination
Unit BSL202:  BSL Productive Skills  - assessed by presentation in BSL
Unit BSL203:  BSL Conversational Skills - assessed by conversation in BSL