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Learning BSL?

Girl with hearing aid

Lots of colleges around the UK have British Sign Language (BSL) courses, but you will need to look around for the best one for you.

Visit Hotcourses or Coursesplus and type in the word ‘BSL’ and where you want to study.

You can also find a centre through Signature. Just put in your postcode and it will find centres close to you.

There are lots of organisations and colleges that offer BSL training. Try contacting your local library, deaf centre or organisation to find out if there are any courses in your area.

Is it free?

Learning BSL can be expensive if you take a course. Prices can be between £200 and £500. Ask the college if they have any discounts. The good thing about learning at a college is that you have a tutor who can help if you have questions. It is also good for practising with other people.

If you are deaf, you may be able to get some help to pay for the course. Look into these organisations:

If you don’t have the money to pay for a course, you could try learning online. Look into these organisations:

  •  Signstation offers a free interactive online sign language learning course.
  •  Signworld offers online courses for different levels. You will have to pay to for the courses but there are lots to choose from and the quality of these courses are good.

Don’t forget it is free to learn BSL if you go out and meet other people and have friends who know BSL.

How old do I have to be to learn BSL?

There are no age limits on learning BSL, but the college you choose to study at may have its own rules. You will need to ask them. A lot of courses are for adults so if you do sign up for a course, you may be in a class with adults.

Will it be too difficult to learn?

Learning BSL can be fun, especially if you can practise with someone else. If you know another BSL user, you can try signing together.

If you’re taking an exam in BSL, remember to try and do as much as you can to learn the different signs. You could buy a BSL dictionary, look online or download an app for your phone. See How will I practise?

What qualification will I get if I take a BSL class?

There are different levels you need to pass before you can get a qualification in BSL.


The same as

What you can get

BSL Level 1 GCSE Grade D-G A basic sign language qualification
BSL Level 2 GCSE Grade B A basic sign language qualification
BSL Level 3 A/S level This is a great qualification to have for a good level of sign language.

If you are hearing, you can also become a trainee sign language interpreter by doing special modules.

BSL Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support Level 3 NVQ If you are hearing, you can become a communication support worker and support deaf learners in college, for example.
BSL Level 6 NVQ



Level 6 NVQ You will have an excellent level of sign language.

If you are hearing, you can become a fully qualified BSL interpreter.

Diploma in Sign
Language Translation
or Interpreting
Postgraduate You will have an excellent level of sign language.

You can become a fully qualified BSL interpreter or have a good level of sign language skills to work with deaf people

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National Deaf Children's Society

Registered Charity: England and Wales (1016532) and Scotland (SC040779)

Helpline: 0808 800 8880

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