St Clere's School, Essex
Oak Lodge School, London
Darrick Wood Secondary School, Kent
Blackburn College, Blackburn
Sanders School, Essex
Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School, Kent
At the start of 2015, we recruited a working group to write the draft qualification specification content, along with the teacher support materials and other necessary documents in preparation for the a pilot programme.
The qualification will be piloted in secondary schools throughout the UK from September 2015. Following the pilot, we aim to make the qualification available to all schools - We are seeking recognition to award GCSE qualifications and intend, in the future, to award this qualification as a GCSE.
If you have any queries about the qualification in British Sign Language (BSL) for secondary, please get in touch with us at BSL.SecEd@Signature.org.uk.
The majority of pupils who are deaf or have a hearing loss are failing to meet the government’s minimum qualification threshold.
Department of Education statistics show that only 43% of SEN pupils with deafness and hearing difficulties achieve five A to C GCSEs including Maths and English. This is in direct comparison to 70% of hearing pupils with no SEN who achieve five good GCSEs.
The above means that 57% of pupils with deafness and hearing difficulties are failing to achieve the government’s GCSE benchmark.
We want to ensure more people, deaf and hearing, have the chance to learn British Sign Language (BSL).
Teaching BSL in schools is not only essential for a more inclusive environment for deaf learners, it has also shown to have a powerful impact on literacy for all students.
Signature has aspired to develop a qualification to be delivered in Secondary schools since 2010. We are seeking recognition to award GCSE qualifications and intend, in the future, to award this qualification as a GCSE.
Since then we have been involved in campaigning for the introduction of a BSL qualification to the national curriculum, and we have worked hard to prepare a pilot programme which began in September 2015.
Deaf people tend to achieve less in education than their hearing peers. Their employment prospects are not as good and it is harder from them to enjoy sport, film and theatre, due to communication issues.
Since 2010 Signature has aspired to develop a British Sign Language (BSL) qualification to be delivered in secondary education.
Sign language is not only a means of communication for people who are deaf; it is also an effective learning aid that has been shown to have a powerful impact on literacy levels in schools by engaging whole classes through kinaesthetic learning.
Research suggests that movement encourages the brain to process information more effectively so learning activities that involve movement, such as BSL, may enhance the learning experience for everyone.
It is also good to build a better understanding of communities and enable hearing children to communicate with their deaf peers and those whose first language is not English.
The teaching of BSL in schools is also essential for creating a more inclusive educational environment for deaf students and improving their learning experience by giving them a more level playing field.
British Sign Language (BSL) is the preferred first language of about 70,000 deaf people in the UK, and was recognised as a language in its own right by the British Government back in 2003.
At present there are more than 45,000 children in the UK who are deaf or have a hearing loss, plus many more who experience temporary hearing loss.
Although you may not have had the opportunity to communicate with a deaf person who uses BSL, you will probably have seen people using BSL on television or in music videos.
The creators of Doctor Who recently introduced a deaf character whose only form of communication was BSL, and Ed Sheeran also used BSL in his music video for 'You need me, I don't need you' (you can read more about this in our online magazine 'Signature Inspire').
This highly expressive language can be fun to learn, especially in a classroom with your friends, and can teach you about the important history of the Deaf Community and Deaf Culture.
In September 2015 we launched the pilot programme in schools, which we hope to be able to offer to all students in the UK over the next few years – We are seeking recognition to award GCSE qualifications and intend, in the future, to award this qualification as a GCSE.
By achieving a BSL qualification you could go on to do a number of exciting careers including; a music interpreter for festivals and concerts, a BSL teacher, a sign language interpreter, a communication support worker and many others.