OUR QUALIFICATIONS

We offer qualifications in a range of subjects including British Sign Language, Irish Sign Language, deaf awareness, supporting deaf learners, communicating and guiding with deafblind people, interpreting and translation. All our qualifications are nationally recognised and accredited by Ofqual (The Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator).

Our qualifications cover all levels from beginner to professional. So if you want basic knowledge to communicate with deaf colleagues and customers, or if your aim is to achieve higher level skills to work with deaf people, we have a qualification to suit.

You can find out more about our range of qualifications by clicking on the links.

What is Deaf and Deafblind Awareness?

In the UK one in six people have some degree of hearing loss. That's about 10 million. This means that you are likely to come into daily contact with people who are partially or totally deaf.

If you are looking for a basic knowledge of communication issues affecting deaf and deafblind people, then Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication is for you.

Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed to provide introductory knowledge and skill for enhancing communication with deaf people.

Qualification structure

To achieve the full Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication, learners are required to achieve two units.

Unit K101 is the theory unit, and Unit T101 is the practical unit. Units can be taken in any order and can be achieved separately.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
K101 Deaf and Deafblind Awareness Multiple choice examination
T101 Communication Tactics with Deaf and Deafblind People Assessment of practical skills

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
K101 10 10 20 2
T101 10 10 20 1
Total 20 20 40 3

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

No previous experience of British/Irish Sign Language or knowledge is needed.

Target group

Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication is suitable for those who:

  • wish to acquire basic knowledge of how deafness and deafblindness affect communication;
  • wish to acquire basic skills to facilitate basic communication with deaf people.

Progression routes

On completion of Signature Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication, a range of further qualifications are available, including:

  • Level 2 Award in Communicating with Deafblind People
  • Level 2 Award in Communicating and Guiding Skills with Deafblind People
  • Level 1 Award in British Sign Language
  • Level 1 Award in Irish Sign Language

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.

We offer qualifications in British Sign Language from Level 1 to Level 6.

Level 1 Award in British Sign Language

Qualification aim

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 specification has been designed using the UK Occupational Language Standards 2010 at Level 1.

Qualification structure

The qualification is divided into three units, each of which can be achieved separately. Learners who are new to BSL should cover 101 first, as units 102 and 103 build on this knowledge. Units 102 and 103 can be taken in any order.

To achieve the full Level 1 Award in British Sign Language, candidates must pass all units.

Signature unit code QCF unit number Unit title Unit details
BSL101 F/502/4513 Introduction to BSL See Unit BSL101 Specification
BSL102 J/504/0762 Conversational BSL See Unit BSL102 Specification
BSL103 F/504/0761 Communicate in BSL about Everyday Life See Unit BSL103 Specification

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 time Credit value at Level 1
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.

Essential requirements

BSL competence standards include requirements for candidates to have sufficient sight, manual dexterity, facial and body movement to produce and receive BSL. It is the responsibility of the centre to explain these requirements before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Qualification Objectives

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

Target group

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.

The qualification is supported by over 500 centres throughout the UK ranging from Further and Higher Education establishments to schools and academies.

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.

Progression routes

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.

Learning resources

BSL Homework

BSL Homework

Our online BSL Homework package is perfect for anyone studying towards a Signature Level 1 Award in British Sign Language or Signature Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language qualification. With over 500 short stories in BSL presented by Deaf people across the UK and questions to test you, it helps you practice what you have been taught in the classroom. You will also find filmed assessment examples and tips, and a BSL dictionary.

Packages start from £14.99 and you can register and practice our BSL101 package for free!

Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed to enable learners to develop their skills to communicate with Deaf people using British Sign Language (BSL) in a range of everyday situations. The qualification will allow learners to participate in longer and more varied conversations than at Level 1. The course will develop communication in BSL about real life, routine, and daily experiences. The learner will be able to deal with most routine communication and have enough understanding of grammar to cope with some non-routine communication. Learners should be taught a number of regional variations in sign language.

The specification has been designed to be consistent with the National Language Standards at Level 2.

Qualification structure

The qualification is divided into three units, each of which can be achieved separately.

The units can be done in any order at any time but it is recommended that the content of Unit BSL201 is covered before Unit BSL202 or BSL203.

To achieve the full Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve all units.

Signature unit code QCF unit number Unit title Assessment Unit details
BSL201 J/600/0210 BSL Receptive Skills External: multiple-choice questions See Unit BSL201 Specification
BSL202 D/600/0214 BSL Productive Skills External: presentation in BSL See Unit BSL202 Specification
BSL203 A/600/0219 BSL Conversational Skills External: conversation in BSL See Unit BSL203 Specification

Guided learning hours includes assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Essential requirements

BSL competence standards include requirements for candidates to have sufficient sight, manual dexterity, facial and body movement to produce and receive BSL. It is the responsibility of the centre to explain these requirements before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

The qualification has four themes:

Theme 1 Everyday Conversation 30 hours Mandatory (this theme must be done)
Theme 2 Eating and Drinking 35 hours Optional themes: Pick two of these themes. The themes chosen for unit BSL202 and BSL203 must be different.
Theme 3 Spending and Shopping 35 hours
Theme 4 Travel and Holidays 35 hours

Theme 1 is mandatory so all learners must do this. Learners will also study two other themes out of the three optional themes above. The two optional themes will be chosen by the teacher in consultation with the learner.

In Unit BSL201 learners will be assessed on the content of Theme 1 only. The hours within the unit include time for practice and assessment.

In Units BSL202 and BSL203 learners will use and build upon the vocabulary and grammatical features of Theme 1.

Themes 2, 3 and 4 include the vocabulary from Theme 1. Learners are expected to increase their understanding and use of BSL grammar and vocabulary in these units. Some of the learning hours will be used to practice their skills and carry out the assessment for Units BSL202 and BSL203.

For Unit BSL202 learners will be assessed on the content of Theme 1 and the first choice of the optional themes.

For Unit BSL203 learners will be assessed on the content of Theme 1 and the second choice of the optional themes.

Target group

Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language is suitable for those who:

  • wish to achieve language skills at an intermediate level to improve communication with Deaf people
  • are Deaf and wish to gain a qualification in their native language
  • are family, friends and colleagues of Deaf people
  • want to progress from Level 1 study in BSL, and who may want to progress to more advanced levels of study in BSL at a later date
  • are studying for personal development.

The qualification is supported by over 300 centres throughout the UK ranging from Further and Higher Education establishments to schools and academies.

Progression routes

On completion of Signature Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language, a wide range of further qualifications is available, including:

  • Signature Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language
  • Signature Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language
  • Signature Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language and Introduction to Interpreting

Signature Level 6 NVQ Certificate in British Sign Language.

These qualifications would potentially lead an individual to various employment opportunities.

Learning resources

BSL Homework

BSL Homework

Our online BSL Homework package is perfect for anyone studying towards a Signature Level 1 Award in British Sign Language or Signature Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language qualification. With over 500 short stories in BSL presented by Deaf people across the UK and questions to test you, it helps you practice what you have been taught in the classroom. You will also find filmed assessment examples and tips, and a BSL dictionary.

Packages start from £14.99 and you can register and practice our BSL101 package for free!

Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language

Qualification aim

Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language (BSL) caters for the learning needs of those who already have competence in BSL at Level 2. Successful learners must be able to demonstrate competence at Level 3 of the UK Occupational Language Standards (CILT, 2010). This means that the learner will be able to understand and use varied BSL in a range of work and social situations.

Unit structure

The qualification is divided into three units each of which will be assessed separately. Although assessments can be taken straight after each unit has been taught, Signature suggests that all assessments are best taken at the end of the course when all teaching is complete.

Unit code Unit title Assessment method
320 Sign Linguistics Knowledge Paper Assessment
321 Understand varied British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations DVD and paper
322 Use varied British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations Presentation

Suggested Duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Signature unit code Guided learning hours (GLH) Additional study/practice time Total learning time Credits
BSL320 20 20 40 4
BSL321 65 55 120 12
BSL322 65 55 120 12

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

In order to be entered for a course and assessment leading to this qualification, learners must be able to demonstrate competence in BSL at level 2. It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a learner for this qualification. Learners should be assessed at their induction to demonstrate their skills.

This qualification is listed as appropriate for learners pre 16 and older.

Level 3 NVQ Certificate in British Sign Language

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to be able to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with Deaf people (for example social workers, teachers of the Deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc)or those who aspire to work in these contexts.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into two units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 3 NVQ Certificate in British Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve both units.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
BSL311 Understand varied British Sign Language in a range of work situations Portfolio
BSL312 Use varied British Sign Language in a range of work situations Portfolio

The unit titles refer to 'work situations' but the content and assessment criteria allow for evidence from a wide range of contexts.

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
BSL311 75 65 140 14
BSL312 75 65 140 14
Total 150 130 280 28

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in BSL at level 2.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed, in order to be able to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with Deaf people (e.g. social workers, teachers of the Deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc.), those who aspire to work in these contexts, and those who wish to expand their knowledge and skills in British Sign Language.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into three units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve all units.

Unit code Unit Title
BSL420 Extended sign language linguistics
BSL421 Understand extended British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations
BSL422 Use extended British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
BSL420 40 20 60 6
BSL421 70 50 120 12
BSL422 70 50 120 12
Total 180 120 300 30

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in BSL at level 3.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Signature Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language and Introduction to Interpreting

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to be able to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with Deaf people (e.g. social workers, teachers of the Deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc.), those who aspire to work in these contexts, and those who wish to expand their knowledge and skills in British Sign Language.

The completion of unit BSL423 can be used as evidence of the interpreting skills needed in order to apply for registration as a trainee interpreter. It is important to note however that this alone does not allow a successful candidate to achieve Trainee Interpreter status. There are a number of other criteria that must also be achieved before applying for registration as a Trainee Interpreter, please refer to the NRCPD website for information on this: www.nrcpd.org.uk.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into three units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve all units.

Unit code Unit Title
BSL420 Extended sign language linguistics
BSL421 Understand extended British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations
BSL422 Use extended British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations
BSL423 Introduction to Interpreting

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
BSL420 40 20 60 6
BSL421 70 50 120 12
BSL422 70 50 120 12
BSL423 40 20 60 6
Total 220 140 360 36

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in BSL at level 3.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Level 6 NVQ Certificate in British Sign Language

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to be able to operate at a professionally proficient level in the target language. It is useful for those who work professionally with Deaf people (for example teachers and lecturers in BSL, social workers, teachers of the Deaf, trainee interpreters, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc) or those who aspire to work in these contexts.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into two units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 6 NVQ Certificate in British Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve both units.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
BSL601 Understand complex British Sign Language in a wide range of work situations Portfolio
BSL602 Use complex British Sign Language in a wide range of work situations Portfolio

The unit titles refer to 'work situations' but the content and assessment criteria allow for evidence from a wide range of contexts.

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
BSL601 90 90 180 18
BSL602 90 90 180 18
Total 180 180 360 36

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in BSL at level 3.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the sign language of the Republic of Ireland, although it is also used in Northern Ireland. ISL is a visual-gestural language, with its own grammar and principles, which are completely different from the grammatical structure of English.

We offer qualifications in Irish Sign Language from Level 1 to Level 6.

Level 1 Award in Irish Sign Language

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed to teach learners to communicate using Irish Sign Language (ISL) on a range of topics that involve simple, everyday language use.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into three units, each of which can be achieved separately. Learners who are new to ISL should cover 101 first, as units 102 and 103 build on this knowledge. Units 102 and 103 can be taken in any order.

To achieve the full Level 1 Award in Irish Sign Language, candidates must pass all units.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
ISL101 * Introduction to ISL Practical assessment of skills
ISL102 Conversational ISL Assessed conversation in ISL
ISL103 Communicate in ISL about Everyday Life Assessed conversation in ISL

* There are alternative ISL101 units available. These are a designed for young people, people working in healthcare and frontline staff, and contain language more applicable to these specific learners.

These can be studied on their own. Successful candidates can go on to complete units ISL102 and ISL103 to achieve the full Level 1 Award in Iritish Sign Language.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
ISL101 (Young People) Introduction to ISL Practical assessment of skills
ISL101 (Healthcare) Introduction to ISL Practical assessment of skills
ISL101 (Frontline Staff) Introduction to ISL Practical assessment of skills

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
ISL101 20 10 30 3
ISL102 22 8 30 3
ISL103 22 8 30 3
Total 64 26 90 9

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

ISL competence standards include requirements for candidates to have sufficient sight, manual dexterity, facial and body movement to produce and receive ISL. It is the responsibility of the centre to explain these requirements before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Level 2 Certificate in Irish Sign Language

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed to enable learners to develop an ability to communicate with Deaf people using Irish Sign Language (ISL) in a range of familiar contexts, participating in lengthy and open-ended exchanges. The course will develop functional communication in ISL about a range of real life, routine and daily experiences. The learner will be able to deal with most routine language tasks and have sufficient grasp of grammar to cope with some non-routine tasks. Learners will be taught a number of regional variations in sign language.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into three units, each of which can be achieved separately. The units can be done in any order at any time but it is recommended that the content of Unit ISL201 is covered before Unit ISL202 or ISL203.

To achieve the full Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve all units.

Unit code Unit title Assessment method
ISL201 ISL Receptive Skills Multiple choice examination
ISL202 ISL Productive Skills Presentation in ISL
ISL203 ISL Conversational Skills Conversation in ISL

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
ISL201 30 20 50 5
ISL202 35 15 50 5
ISL203 35 15 50 5
Total 100 50 150 15

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

ISL competence standards include requirements for candidates to have sufficient sight, manual dexterity, facial and body movement to produce and receive ISL. It is the responsibility of the centre to explain these requirements before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Irish Sign Language

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to be able to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with Deaf people (for example social workers, teachers of the Deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc)or those who aspire to work in these contexts.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into two units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Irish Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve both units.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
ISL311 Understand varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work situations Portfolio
ISL312 Use varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work situations Portfolio

The unit titles refer to 'work situations' but the content and assessment criteria allow for evidence from a wide range of contexts.

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
ISL311 75 65 140 14
ISL312 75 65 140 14
Total 150 130 280 28

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in ISL at level 2.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Level 4 Certificate in Irish Sign Language

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed, in order to be able to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with Deaf people (e.g. social workers, teachers of the Deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc.), those who aspire to work in these contexts, and those who wish to expand their knowledge and skills in Irish Sign Language.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into three units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 4 Certificate in Irish Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve all units.

Unit code Unit Title
ISL420 Extended sign language linguistics
ISL421 Understand extended Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations
ISL422 Use extended Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
ISL420 40 20 60 6
ISL421 70 50 120 12
ISL422 70 50 120 12
Total 180 120 300 30

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in ISL at level 3.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Signature Level 4 Certificate in Irish Sign Language and Introduction to Interpreting

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to be able to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with Deaf people (e.g. social workers, teachers of the Deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc.), those who aspire to work in these contexts, and those who wish to expand their knowledge and skills in Irish Sign Language.

The completion of unit ISL423 can be used as evidence of the interpreting skills needed in order to apply for registration as a trainee interpreter. It is important to note however that this alone does not allow a successful candidate to achieve Trainee Interpreter status. There are a number of other criteria that must also be achieved before applying for registration as a Trainee Interpreter, please refer to the NRCPD website for information on this: www.nrcpd.org.uk.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into three units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 4 Certificate in Irish Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve all units.

Unit code Unit Title
ISL420 Extended sign language linguistics
ISL421 Understand extended Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations
ISL422 Use extended Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations
ISL423 Introduction to Interpreting

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
ISL420 40 20 60 6
ISL421 70 50 120 12
ISL422 70 50 120 12
ISL423 40 20 60 6
Total 220 140 360 36

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in ISL at level 3.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Level 6 NVQ Certificate in Irish Sign Language

Qualification aim

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to be able to operate at a professionally proficient level in the target language. It is useful for those who work professionally with Deaf people (for example teachers and lecturers in ISL, social workers, teachers of the Deaf, trainee interpreters, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc) or those who aspire to work in these contexts.

Unit structure

This qualification is divided into two units, both of which can be achieved separately.

To achieve the full Level 6 NVQ Certificate in Irish Sign Language, candidates are required to achieve both units.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
ISL601 Understand complex Irish Sign Language in a wide range of work situations Portfolio
ISL602 Use complex Irish Sign Language in a wide range of work situations Portfolio

The unit titles refer to 'work situations' but the content and assessment criteria allow for evidence from a wide range of contexts.

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
ISL601 90 90 180 18
ISL602 90 90 180 18
Total 180 180 360 36

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in ISL at level 3.

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that this requirement has been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

There are an estimated 356,000 people with combined visual and hearing loss in the UK.

We offer qualifications in Deafblind Communication from Level 2 to Level 3.

Level 2 Award in Communicating with Deafblind People

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed to enable learners to develop knowledge, understanding and skill in relation to communication with deafblind people who use English, and who make use of residual sight and hearing in communication. The deafblind experience is explored in depth and the individuality of the dual sensory loss is the priority. This qualification is seen as the starting point for those who wish towork in the deafblind field.

Qualification objectives

At the end of the qualification candidates will be able to:

  • understand and know how deafblindness affects communication for deafblind people
  • use a range of communication methods to support conversation with a deafblind person
  • take part in an conversation with a deafblind person
  • guide a deafblind person within a building and to a place of safety.

Qualification structure

To achieve the full Level 2 Award in Communicating and Guiding with Deafblind People, learners are required to achieve three units. Unit K202 is the theory unit; Unit T201 and Unit T202 are practical units. Units can be achieved separately.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
K202 Understanding Communication with Deafblind People Written examination
T201 Communicating Deafblind People Assessment of practical skills

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
K202 20 10 30 3
T201 20 5 25 3
Total 40 15 55 6

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

It assumes no previous knowledge or experience, but candidates will benefit from having achieved Signature Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication before they start this qualification.

Candidates for assessment must have clear speech to achieve the requirement listed in unit T201. It is the responsibility of the centre to explain this requirement before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Target group

Level 2 Certificate in Communicating with Deafblind People is suitable for those who:

  • wish to gain knowledge, perhaps in connection with their work (paid or voluntary), about how deafblindness affects communication for the four main groups of deafblind people;
  • wish to improve their skills, for use in the workplace or elsewhere, when communicating in English with deafblind people.

Progression routes

On completion of Signature Level 2 Award in Communicating with Deafblind People, a range of further qualifications are available, including:

  • Level 2 Award in Communicating and Guiding with Deafblind People
  • Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People

A range of professional qualifications and a range of other qualifications at Levels 2 and 3 are also available.

Level 2 Award in Communicating and Guiding with Deafblind People

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed to give learners the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate with deafblind people who use English and the Deafblind Manual Alphabet. It builds on the knowledge and skills gained in Level 2 Award in Communicating with Deafblind People qualification with which this qualification shares two units (K202 and T201).

Qualification objectives

At the end of the qualification candidates will be able to:

  • understand and know how deafblindness affects communication for deafblind people
  • use a range of communication methods to support conversation with a deafblind person
  • take part in an conversation with a deafblind person.

Qualification structure

To achieve the full Level 2 Award in Communicating with Deafblind People, learners arerequired to achieve two units. Unit K202 is the theory unit, and Unit T201 is the practical unit.

Units can be taken in any order and can be achieved separately.

Unit code Unit Title Assessment method
K202 Understanding Communication with Deafblind People Written examination
T201 Communicating Deafblind People Assessment of practical skills
T202 Deafblind Manual Communication and Guiding Assessment of practical skills

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
K202 20 10 30 3
T201 20 5 25 3
Total 40 15 55 6

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

It assumes no previous knowledge or experience, but candidates will benefit from having achieved Signature Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication before they start this qualification.

Candidates for assessment must have clear speech to achieve the requirement listed in unit T201. It is the responsibility of the centre to explain this requirement before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Target group

Level 2 Certificate in Communicating with Deafblind People is suitable for those who:

  • wish to gain knowledge, perhaps in connection with their work (paid or voluntary), about how deafblindness affects communication for the four main groups of deafblind people;
  • wish to improve their skills, for use in the workplace or elsewhere, when communicating in English with deafblind people.

Progression routes

On completion of Signature Level 2 Award in Communicating with Deafblind People, a range of further qualifications are available, including:

  • Level 2 Award in Communicating and Guiding with Deafblind People
  • Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People

A range of professional qualifications and a range of other qualifications at Levels 2 and 3 are also available.

Level 3 Certificate in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People

Qualification aim

Signature Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People is designed to enable learners develop knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to communication with deafblind* people who do not use English or British Sign Language (BSL) as a formal language. Causes and implications of congenital deafblindness and the roles of those who promote and develop communication, including the development of a communication method is explored in detail. The importance of a deafblind person's wishes in decision-making is seen as vital.

* In this specification, the term 'deafblind' relates to people with congenital deafblindness.

Qualification objectives

At the end of the qualification, learners will be able:

  • to understand the causes of congenital deafblindness, and factors influencing the congenitally deafblind person's social development
  • to develop the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to communication with the congenitally deafblind individual.

Qualification structure

To achieve the full Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People, learners are required to achieve two units.

Units can be taken in any order and can be achieved separately.

Signature unit code Unit title Assessment
K301 Understanding Congenital Deafblindness External: written examination
K302 The Congenitally Deafblind Individual External: written examination

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit Guided learning hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning time Credit value at Level 3
K301 20 10 30 3
K302 20 10 30 3
Total 40 20 60 6

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

It assumes there is previous knowledge and candidates will have benefited from having achieved the Signature Level 2 Award in Communicating with Deafblind People and/or the Signature Level 2 Award in Communicating and Guiding with Deafblind People.

Target group

Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People is suitable for those who:

  • wish to gain knowledge, perhaps in connection with their work (paid or voluntary), about how deafblindness affects communication for congenitally deafblind people
  • wish to understand the ways, for use in the workplace or elsewhere, in which they can communicate with congenitally deafblind people.

Progression routes

On completion of Signature Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People, a range of other qualifications at Levels 2 and 3 are available. Please see Signature website for further details.

Level 3 Award in Modifying Written English Texts for Deaf People

Qualification aim

This qualification is suitable for those who wish to work with and for deaf people who may require support in accessing written English.

Qualification objectives

At the end of the qualification, learners will be able to recognise structures and discourse in English which can cause particular problems for deaf readers, and be able to modify it so it becomes more accessible without changing the meaning or intent of the original written message.

Qualification structure

To achieve the full Level 3 Award in Modifying Written English Texts for Deaf People, learners are required to complete two units.

Unit K318 is a theory unit and Unit T303 covers the knowledge and practical skills in English language modification.

Units may be taken separately, but it is recommended that K318 is taken before T303.

Unit code Unit title Assessment method
K318 Accessible English for Deaf and Deafblind People Written examination
T303 Modifying Written Texts for Deaf and Deafblind People Written assignment and practical examination

Suggested duration

The following table shows the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
K318 20 10 30 3
T101 20 10 30 3
Total 40 20 60 6

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates should have a qualification showing sound knowledge and command of English.

These could include:

  • GCSE or IGCSE English - Grade C or above.
  • Key Skills Communication Level 2.
  • AS Level English Language.
  • A Level English Language.
  • Communications Unit at Level 2 or 3 in a kitemarked Access to Higher Education course.
  • Scottish Certificate of Education - Standard Grade English - Grade C or above.
  • Scottish Certificate of Education - Higher Grade English - Grade D or above.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate - Ordinary Level English - Grade C or above.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate - Higher Level English - Grade D or above.

We recommend for candidates that don't have an English qualification other than the above, or no formal qualification in English to take the Functional Skills English at Level 2 assessment.

It is the responsibility of the course provider to ensure that this requirement is met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Target group

Those who work with and for deaf people who need access to modified English, including trainee teachers of the deaf, communication support workers, support staff within educational establishments.

Progression routes

On completion of this qualification candidates may wish to progress to the Signature Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners. Unit K318 - Accessible English for Deaf and Deafblind People is also part of this qualification.

Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners

Qualification aim

This qualification is appropriate for specialist learning support practitioners who work with Deaf learners in for example an FE College, adult and community learning centre or learning provider and for those supporting work based training such as within voluntary, community, private and public organisations.

The aim of the certificate is to provide those who are learning support practitioners - Communication Support Workers (CSWs) - with the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills in order to effectively fulfil the specialist learning support practitioner role.

Qualification objectives

At the end of the qualification, learners will be able:

  • to provide a sound educational basis for supporting deaf learners in a wide range of learning institutions with in the Lifelong Learning Sector
  • to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes for supporting deaf learners in a wide range of learning institutions with in the Lifelong Learning Sector
  • to promote personal and professional development
  • to promote evaluation and reflection on personal and communication support practice

Qualification structure

To achieve the full Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners, learners are required to achieve all eight units.

The Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners consists of mandatory credit only. The introductory unit, Preparing to Support Learning, should be delivered first. This could be combined with additional units to provide a particular focus for the introductory part of a programme. A holistic approach may be taken by centres with the remaining mandatory units.

Unit code Unit title Assessment method
K311 Preparing to Support Learning Portfolio of evidence
K312 Learning Support in Lifelong Learning Contexts: Communication Support for Deaf Learners Portfolio of evidence
K313 Principles of Learning Support: Communication Support for Deaf People Portfolio of evidence
K314 Supporting Learning: Communication Support for Deaf Learners Portfolio of evidence
K315 Reflective Journal Production of Journal
K316 Supporting Bi-lingual Access Portfolio of evidence
K317 Clear Speech and Notetaking Portfolio of evidence
K318 Accessible English for Deaf and Deafblind People One hour written assessment paper (external assess)

Suggested duration

The following table shows the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
K311 30 30 60 6
K312 30 20 50 6
K313 30 20 50 6
K314 30 20 50 6
K315 10 20 30 3
K316 20 10 30 3
K317 20 10 30 3
K318 20 10 30 3
Total 190 140 330 36

Essential requirements

A minimum of Level 2 BSL is essential for candidates studying this certificate. Level 3 BSL is desirable. Candidates should also have English at a minimum of level 2. Candidates without Level 3 BSL at entry are strongly recommended to achieve BSL level 3 either whilst training or shortly after achieving the certificate. Those who work/intend to work in establishments where learners using BSL are the norm should gain BSL at level 3 alongside this qualification. This qualification is listed as appropriate for learners 19+.

It is recommended that all candidates undertake an initial assessment prior to commencement of the course. This should include an assessment of their BSL skills, and their individual needs with respect to the minimum core of language, literacy, numeracy and ICT. The minimum core is not required as part of the qualification, but to work as a Learning Support Practitioner (CSW), learners will need proof that they have met the standards.

Target group

Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners is suitable for those who work, or wish to work, in education; in schools, colleges and universities, supporting deaf learners to communicate with their teachers and other learners. CSWs work as part of the education team alongside other professionals, such as Teachers of the Deaf (TODs), Speech and Language Therapists (SALTs), and Audiologists.

Duties typically include:

  • Supporting deaf learners by enabling communication between spoken English and BSL, notetaking and lipspeaking
  • Supporting deaf learners with understanding and producing written material in class
  • Adapting learning materials so that deaf learners understand them more easily
  • Suggesting ways that the school or college environment can be improved to make it easier for deaf learners to use hearing aids or lipread

Progression routes

On completion of Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners, a range of further qualifications are available, including:

  • Signature Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People
  • Signature Level 3 NVQ Certificate in British/Irish Sign Language
  • Signature Level 6 NVQ Certificate in British/Irish Sign Language
  • Signature Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting
  • Signature Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Translation

Sign language interpreters transfer meaning from one spoken or signed language into another signed or spoken language. Interpreters will use their skill and knowledge of the two languages, and their understanding cultural differences between those for whom they are interpreting, to transfer a message in one language into the other language.

Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed is to provide those who are working or training as interpreters with the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills in order to effectively fulfil the role.

Qualification objectives

At the end of this qualification candidates will be able to:

  • demonstrate good practice in their area of professional activity
  • demonstrate their ability to carry out interpreting assignments to a professional standard
  • be fully aware of the role of the professional interpreter and the principles of professional practice
  • evaluate and reflect on performance
  • promote personal and professional development.

Qualification structure

To be awarded a Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting candidates must achieve five units in total (four mandatory units and one optional) in order to be awarded the full qualification. Candidates will provide proof of their interpreting competence against the National Occupational Standards by compiling a portfolio of evidence covering the five chosen units. Signature approved centre internally assess and verifiy all units. External quality assurance is provided by Signature.

This qualification consists of five units. Four are mandatory: candidates choose one of the two optional units

Unit type Unit code Unit title
Mandatory INT6A1 Prepare for sign language interpreting assignments
Mandatory INT6B1 Interpret one-way as a professional sign language interpreter
Mandatory INT6C1 Interpret two-way as a professional sign language interpreter
Mandatory INT6D1 Develop your performance as a sign language interpreter
Optional INT6E1 Support sign language interpreting through sight translations of routine written documents
Optional INT6G1 Work with other sign language interpreters

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
INT6A1 130 70 200 20
INT6B1 200 100 300 30
INT6C1 200 100 300 30
INT6D1 160 80 240 24
INT6E1 160 80 240 24
INT6G1 160 80 240 24

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates are expected to have language competence in both languages for which they provide evidence for this qualification. This should be:

  • the equivalent of Level 6 in their first language. At Level 6, candidates can understand and use complex and specialised language*. Candidates can deal with all work situations, both within and outside candidates' area of professional expertise
  • the equivalent of Level 6 in the second language. At Level 6, candidates can understand and use complex language and express themselves fluently. Candidates can deal confidently with most work situations.

It is the responsibility of the Signature approved centres to ensure that the above languages requirements have been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Progression routes

On successful completion of this qualification candidates can apply to become a NRCPD Registered Sign Language Interpreter. For further information about registration requirements please visit the NRCPD website.

Sometimes a deaf person requires the written word to be translated into their own language, most often sign language. These translations may be used within the workplace or presented to camera for use on websites or television.

To ensure the highest standard of these translations we offer the Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Translation.

Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Translation

Qualification aim

This qualification is designed to provide those who are working or training as translators with the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills in order to effectively fulfil the role.

Qualification objectives

At the end of this qualification candidates will be able to:

  • demonstrate good practice in their area of professional activity
  • be fully aware of the role of the professional translator and the principles of professional practice
  • evaluate and reflect on performance
  • be aware of own capabilities/limitations and develop skills where appropriate
  • promote personal and professional development.

Qualification structure

To be awarded a Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Translation candidates must achieve five units in total in order to be awarded the full qualification. Candidates will provide proof of their translation competence against the National Occupational Standards by compiling a portfolio of evidence covering the five units. Signature approved centres internally assess and verify all units. External quality assurance is provided by Signature.

This qualification consists of five mandatory units.

Unit code Unit Title
PTRA1 Maintain skills and systems for managing translation tasks
PTRA2 Manage new translation assignments
PTRA3 Translate written texts from one language into another
PTRA4 Develop your performance as a professional translator
INT6E1 Support sign language interpreting through sight translations of routine written documents

Suggested duration

The following table details the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
PTRA1 130 70 200 20
PTRA2 200 100 300 30
PTRA3 200 100 300 30
PTRA4 160 80 240 24
INT6E1 160 80 240 24

Guided learning hours include assessment time.

Additional study hours include private study, homework, practice, etc.

Signature approved centres will deliver this qualification over agreed timescales.

Essential requirements

Candidates are expected to have language competence in both/all languages for which they provide evidence for this qualification. This should be:

  • the equivalent of at least Level 6 in their first language. At Level 6, candidates can understand and use complex and specialised language. Candidates can deal confidently with most work situations, both within and outside candidates' area of professional expertise
  • the equivalent of Level 6 in the second language. At Level 6, candidates can understand anduse complex language and express themselves fluently. Candidates can deal confidently with most work situations.

It is the responsibility of the Signature approved centres to ensure that the above languages requirements have been met before accepting a candidate for this qualification.

Target group

This qualification is appropriate for people already working in the field of translation. This will be people working mainly in the media or web interface but may also be in a number of other areas where translation fr om English to BSL is required.

Progression routes

On successful completion of this qualification candidates can apply to become a NRCPD Registered Sign Language Translator. For further information about registration requirements please visit the NRCPD website.

Level 3 Certificate in Lipspeaking

Qualification aim

The aim of the Signature Level 3 Certificate in Lipspeaking is to provide those who wish to work as Lipspeakers with the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills in order to effectively fulfil their role. This qualification is intended to support the professionalism of the lipspeaking workforce and enable a wider recognition of the valuable role it plays.

Qualification objectives

At the end of the qualification candidates will be able to:

  • demonstrate through assessment the skills required to be a competent lipspeaker
  • demonstrate good practice in their area of professional activity
  • be fully aware of the role of the lipspeaker and the principles of professional practice
  • evaluate and reflect on performance
  • be aware of own capabilities/limitations and develop skills where appropriate
  • promote personal and professional development.

Qualification structure

To be awarded a Level 3 Certificate in Lipspeaking candidates must achieve four mandatory units in order to be awarded the full qualification.

LS301 Prepare for Lipspeaking Assignments
LS302 Deliver Lipspeaking Services
LS303 Develop your performance as a Lipspeaker
LS304 Co-Work with other Lipspeakers

A holistic approach should be taken by centres for the units, in that units may run concurrently and the teaching may cover the learning requirements of several units.

Unit code Unit title Assessment method
LS301 Prepare for Lipspeaking Assignments Written paper
LS302 Deliver Lipspeaking Services Live observation, recording.
LS303 Develop your performance as a Lipspeaker Personal Development Plan and reflective journal
LS304 Co-Work with other Lipspeakers Written essay

Suggested duration

The following table shows the recommended learning hours required to achieve this qualification.

Unit code Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Additional study hours Total learning hours Credit value at Level 1
LS301 20 20 40 4
LS302 50 30 80 8
LS303 20 30 50 5
LS304 10 20 30 3
Total 100 100 200 20

Essential requirements

Potential candidates should have or be developing their skills in English, mathematics and ICT at Level 2 and should have undergone an initial assessment of these skills prior to commencement on the course. In addition candidates will be assessed at interview for their suitability to perform the technical skills required for lipspeaking so that their message is potentially clearly lipreadable. Candidates should also have good unaided hearing to perform accurate lipspeaking.

Target group

Signature Level 3 Certificate in Lipspeaking is appropriate for people who wish to work in the area of lipspeaking and those who wish to lipspeak as part of their role. It may also be of value to Speech to Text Reporters (STTRs) and Electronic Notetakers and BSL Interpreters and other Communication professionals working in the field.

This qualification is listed as appropriate for learners 19+.

Progression routes

A range of other Signature qualifications are also available for candidates to achieve.