British Sign Language Level 1 Award

Qualification aim

Level 1 Award in British Sign Language Qualifications 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 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 units.

UnitQAN unit number Unit titleAssessment
BSL101F/502/4513Introduction to BSLPractical assessment of skills
BSL102J/504/0762Conversational BSLConversation in BSL
BSL103F/504/0761Communicate in BSL about Everyday LifeConversation in BSL

Unit BSL101 is internally assessed by the teacher. Units BSL102 and BSL103 are externally assessed by a Signature assessor.

Suggested duration

The recommended guided learning hours are 64 hours as shown below:

UnitGuided Learning Hours (GLH)Additional study hoursTotal learning hoursCredit value

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


Level 1 Award in British Sign Language with Signature Learning Hub

Our online BSLHomework package is perfect for anyone studying towards a Signature Level 1, 2 or 3 Award in British Sign Language. BSLHomework is a comprehensive online library of video clips and support materials to help you understand the assessments, develop your vocabulary and linguistics skills, and practice your receptive BSL skills from wherever you are.

Packages start from £30.00 ex VAT

Signature Shop

In the Signature online shop you can buy homework DVDs for both BSL level 1 & 2. These DVDs will help you to practice what you have learnt as part of your course, and allow you to prepare for your upcoming assessments.