The BSL Level 3 or Certificate in British Sign language helps you develop your language skills and knowledge so you are competent at Level 3 of the UK Occupational Language Standards. The curriculum develops your signing skills so you are able to use BSL in a range of work and social situations. You need to show you are competent at both receptive and productive skills at this level.
Signature’s British Sign Language Level 3 syllabus which is split into 3 competency areas:
- Using receptive and productive skills to engage in varied social interactions. This means being able to have a conversation on a range of topics. However, you may need to use formal language or you may need to include some humour into your discussions, depending on the topic. Ultimately, you need to be able to adapt your conversation style to match the person you are signing with.
- Maintaining fluency, grammatical accuracy and coherence in sustained contributions containing varied language. the focus is on the correct BSL grammar. For example, knowing when and what non manual features you need to use, being able to use space correctly and using the correct BSL order.
- Understanding sustained signed communication containing varied language. This module focuses on enhancing your receptive skills. For example, you need to be able to separate facts from opinion, understand regional variations in BSL and understand fingerspelling (delivered at normal speed).
Course topics include:
- Home life
- Social and recreational activities
- Education and training
- Consumer issues and daily living
- Deaf history and culture
To achieve BSL Level 3, you need to complete 3 assessments designed to test skills needed at this level:
- Formal presentation lasting 8 – 10 minutes. Your exam is recorded on video and is marked by external assessor.
- Informal conversation with your tutor. This is also recorded and is marked by an external assessor.
- Receptive skills test – you watch a video and answer questions to check your understanding. This is also marked externally.
You need to complete 250 learning hours in order to achieve a BSL level 3 qualification. You can get the full BSL Level 3 specification from the Signature website.
IBSL Level 3 Certificate in BSL Studies
The iBSL curriculum is similar to the Signature curriculum in that the primary aim is for you to understand and use varied BSL in a range of work contexts. This course is for learners who are considering a career working with Deaf and hard of hearing people. If you already work with the Deaf Community, this course will enhance your understanding of Deaf culture.
The Level 3 course covers a comprehensive range of topics. However, it primarily focuses on BSL linguistics so you can develop your signing skills to communicate confidently with native sign language users, at a normal speed.
The qualification is divided into 3 modules:
IBSL3AUN: Understand varied BSL in a range of work contexts Unit Number
IBSL3ASN: Use varied BSL in a range of work contexts Unit Number
IBSL3ADC: Interact with people from different countries or diverse cultures
Course topics include:
- The Principles of BSL linguistics
- Deaf Culture and History
- Home Life
- Education & Employment
- Exploring Different Deaf Cultures
The qualification is divided into a number of units, each of which will be assessed separately. Although assessments can be taken straight after each unit has been taught, iBSL suggests that all assessments are best taken at the end of the course when all teaching is complete. The 6 assessments for this course are:
- BSL receptive skills test
- Deaf Culture paper
- Productive skills test
- Conversation skills test (2 skills assessed in 1 assessment)
- Group conversation skills test (external verifier assessment)
You will be required to collect evidence for a portfolio to show you are competent at producing and understanding BSL. You can visit the iBSL website for the specification and further details about the exams process.
BSL Level 3 Courses near me
We’ve done the research so you don’t have to! Below is a list of Level 3 courses that are due to start within the next 6 months. We update this list on a regular basis so check back
Manchester Deaf Centre (course starts in January 2023)
Signwise Tuition, Norwich
Online and Classroom courses:
B.S.L Training, Kent
Deaf Unity, London
What can I do with BSL level 3?
A BSL Level 3 qualification will enable you to apply for Communication Support Worker (CSW) roles. CSWs usually work in schools and colleges to work with deaf students. There are a number of colleges and universities across the UK who need a regular supply of CSWs. There are also specialist schools that need CSWs to work with deaf students.
Are any online Level 3 BSL courses free?
No. No bona fide, Ofqual regulated course provider can provide a free BSL Level 3 course. British Sign Language courses do not attract any government funding and most course providers are small businesses run by individual tutors, so you would need to be responsible for all costs associated with completing a course.
If you are aged under 19, you may find a college who will fund the Level 3 course but you may still need to pay for the exams. The Level 3 qualification is the equivalent of an A-Level and the cost of A-Level courses for adults can be anywhere between £200 (if subsidised) to £2,000. You may be able to apply for a grant or loan to cover the cost of course fees, but it is unlikely you will find a free regulated BSL Level 3 course.
The BSL Level 3 has a significant focus on linguistics which is essential to understanding other signing styles and to developing your own. You will cover topics that you will have already covered in BSL Level 2 but you will learn linguistics at a deeper level. For example, you may have learned how to produce multi-channel signs but you will be expected to understand a range of multi-channel signs delivered by different native signers.
You should be able to understand the context and be able to translate the meaning by the end of your course. Our hot tip is to meet and interact with as many native sign language users as you can. You can also practice skills by watching video clips on channels such as BSL Zone and don’t forget to check out our post about free sign language resources.