British Sign Language (BSL) was recognised by the government as a language in its own right in March 2003. BSL 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.
This qualification is designed to teach learners to communicate with Deaf people in British Sign Language (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.
The qualification is divided into three units, each of which can be achieved separately. Learners who are new to BSL should cover BSL101 first, as units BSL102 and BSL103 build on this knowledge. Units BSL102 and BSL103 can be taken in any order.
To achieve the full Level 1 Award in British Sign Language, candidates must pass all three units.
Unit QAN unit number Unit title Assessment
BSL101 F/502/4513 Introduction to BSL Practical assessment of skills
BSL102 J/504/0762 Conversational BSL Conversation in BSL
BSL103 F/504/0761 Communicate in BSL about Everyday Life Conversation in BSL
Unit BSL101 is internally assessed by the teacher.
Units BSL102 and BSL103 are externally assessed by a Signature assessor.
The recommended guided learning hours are 64 hours as shown below:
Unit Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value
BSL101 20 10 30 3
BSL102 22 8 30 3
BSL103 22 8 30 3
Total 64 26 90 9
GLH includes assessment time
Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.
BSL competence standards include requirements for candidates to have sufficient sight, manual dexterity, facial and body movement to produce and receive BSL.
At the end of the qualification, learners 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
Level 1 Award in British Sign Language can be taken without any previous BSL experience at any level. This qualification allows learners to gain basic skills and confidence in the two areas of production and reception of BSL.
Level 1 Award in British Sign Language is suitable for those who:
- want to learn basic language skills to communicate simple conversations with Deaf people
- want to learn new language skills as part of a programme of study
- want to progress to more advanced study and/or employment using BSL in the future
- are studying for personal development
- are parents, family, friends or colleagues of Deaf people.
Level 1 Award in British Sign Language is suitable for all ages, including pre-16 year olds.
On completion of Signature Level 1 Award in British Sign Language, a wide range of further qualifications are available, including:
- Signature Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language
- Signature Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language
These qualifications would potentially lead an individual to various employment opportunities.