The Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language enhances what you have already learned for BSL Level 1. The course develops your signing skills and increases your vocabulary so you are able to participate in longer more detailed everyday conversations.
This is a video summary of this post:
The Level 2 certificate follows Signature‘s British Sign Language Level 2 syllabus which is split into 4 themes. You can find the BSL level 2 specification on the awarding body’s website:
- Theme 1 focuses on basic conversation skills
- Theme 2 focuses on eating and drinking
- Theme 3 focuses on shopping and spending
- Theme 4 focuses on travel and holidays
Theme 1 focuses on improving your basic conversation skills so you will cover topics so you can:
- Describe the characteristics of people, animals and objects. For example, how to describe a person’s height, weight, hair colour, and ethnicity.
- Describe school or work, your usual daily routine and the layout of buildings or places you have visited.
- Describe everyday activities such as cooking a meal, going to an event or activity
Theme 2 focuses on eating and drinking so you cover a range of topics so you can:
- Describe food types, different types of meals and a range of drinks
- Describe events shared with friends and family
- Be able to express your views on different food and experiences you have had
Theme 3 focuses on shopping and spending. You will cover a range of topics that will enable you to:
- Describe the different types of shops, different payment methods, receipts, and refunds and explain services such as Paypal.
- Describe and discuss your shopping experiences, including buying things online
- Compare sizes, costs, and quality of items you have bought
The video below is from Alan Davison who runs Sign Right in Preston. He has a range of videos on YouTube covering vocabulary from Levels 1 – 3.
Theme 4 focuses on BSL signs used when discussing travel and holidays. You will cover a range of topics that could include:
- Describing a holiday experience – in a hotel, B&B, camping, all-inclusive and whether you had a good/ bad experience
- Describing travel arrangements such as buying tickets or booking flights.
- Comparing holiday experiences or journeys. What made them good/ bad?
To achieve BSL Level 2, you need to complete 3 assessments which are designed to test skills needed to sign in everyday situations. The Level 2 exam summary is as follows:
201: multiple choice assessment designed to test your receptive skills (your understanding of signed BSL)
202: presentation skills assessment tests of you can present information in BSL
203: conversation skills test assesses your ability to have a conversation on an everyday topic
You can look at the Signature BSL level 2 specification for a more detailed description of each theme on the curriculum.
Different ways of learning to level 2 standard
Be aware that in order to achieve the Level 2 Award in BSL (regulated by Ofqual), you need to complete the recommended 100+ tutor-guided hours plus 50+ hours of personal study. You can choose to complete your BSL Level 2 online or face-to-face in a classroom.
Online (Ofqual) BSL Courses
If you want to complete the British Sign Language Level 2 Certificate online, some course providers enable you to work through online course materials and then attend a minimum number of short sessions with a tutor. Be aware that exam fees are not always included in the course fees
Classroom (Ofqual) BSL Courses
Most course providers provide face-to-face group courses for learners who prefer the traditional way of learning. Classes are usually held weekly. Signature limit the number of students a course provider can have on a course. Group courses are limited to 15 students per course. This is so tutors can give students sufficient attention. This is particularly important for students who may find some topics difficult to understand.
Other benefits of attending classroom sessions are:
- Group interaction enhances your learning. You learn from your peers as well as your BSL tutor.
- You get the ‘human touch’ and learn the appropriate cultural behaviours with a Deaf person in the room
- Courses are standardised so you cover all the relevant information during your classroom sessions.
- You can practise with other Deaf community members who visit our sessions
- You get hands-on experience and interaction with someone who uses BSL every day
- You have time to focus on learning BSL without home distractions
- You make new friends!
BSL Level 2 near me:
Below is our list of recommended, verified Ofqual courses that offer sign language certification online.
BSL Level 2 online courses:
BSL Courses is a hybrid course. You watch videos but also have online tutorials with qualified BSL tutors.
BSL First offers BSL Level 2 online only.
B.S.L Training is based in Kent. They offer both online and classroom courses.
Deaf Action is based in Scotland. They offer both online and classroom courses.
Deaf Unity is based in London. They offer both online and classroom courses.
Deaf Solutions 3 is offering BSL Level 2 online only.
HiKent is based in Kent. They offer both online and classroom courses.
Remark is based in London. They offer both online and classroom courses.
Sh BSL is based in Norfolk. The tutor offers both online and classroom courses
Simply Signed is based in Essex. They offer both online and classroom courses.
BSL Level 2 classroom courses:
BSL Ladder, based in Blackburn
CityLit, based in London.
Heathlands are based in St Albans
Manchester Deaf Centre, based in Manchester
Signwise, based in Norwich.
Some of the tutors run a BSL Level 2 intensive course. These type of courses are suitable for learners who may already use BSL at an intermediate level. Intensive courses would not be recommended for learners who have only just passed BSL Level 1. Learning Sign language, like any other language, takes time. You need to factor in muscle memory e.g. remembering where the letters are on your hands when fingerspelling, so intensive courses are not suitable for everybody.
How much do BSL Level 2 courses cost?
Level 2 courses range in cost from £400 – £900. The cost varies depending on whether courses are inclusive of assessment fees or not. You can check this with your course provider before you start.
New learners often wonder why BSL courses are so ‘expensive’. Course fees usually include teaching hours and the provision of resources. Signature (the awarding body) charges additional centre registration fees as well as the fees charged to students for each assessment of a learner’s competency. Unfortunately, exam fees are mandatory if you wish to gain a nationally recognised qualification.
Course costs also vary across the UK to accommodate additional costs such as classroom hire or subscriptions to online video call services (e.g. Zoom).
Some course providers prefer to wait until you have completed 1 or 2 modules before asking you to pay your exam fees. This is to confirm you are ready to do the exams. There are occasions when students are not ready for exams but have committed to the assessments and then failed.
BSL tutors recognise that some learners achieve competency later than others so some tutors will only put you forward for assessments when they are fairly certain you will pass. Passing an exam is never 100% guaranteed, but most BSL tutors are conscientious enough to know the emotional impact of failing an exam and diligently support students to success. Thankfully, BSL exams tend to be straightforward and have a high pass rate. You can check the pass/fail rates on Signature’s website.
Can I learn BSL Level 2 for free?
Can you learn BSL Level 2 for free? BSL level 2 is an intermediate course. You need to complete 100 structured learning hours to be considered competent at this level. Given the number of hours you need, no regulated course provider would be in a financial position to provide this level of teaching for free.
However, there are a few Ofqual registered course providers who offer a free trial such as bslcourses.co.uk. Any ‘free’ course is unlikely to be a high-quality course and may even harm your ability to become a competent signer. If you plan to use BSL in the future, then it is best to avoid free or cheap Level 2 BSL courses as they are likely to cost you more in terms of wasted time and money when resitting exams.
What jobs can I do with BSL level 2?
A BSL Level 2 qualification is the minimum required for some jobs you can do with BSL. BSL level 2 is the equivalent of a GCSE, so it is a stepping stone towards becoming fluent. Generally, learners need BSL Level 2 for work as a Communication Support Worker (CSW) for primary school children. If you support older children, particularly teens, then BSL Level 3 is needed to match the fluency of the student and GCSE curriculum.
Working as a CSW helps learners gain experience which is useful if you aim to become a fully qualified Sign Language interpreter. The Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) provides further information on becoming an interpreter for learners interested in pursuing a new career.
parent of a Deaf Child?
Did you know that 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents? You could learn basic baby BSL signs to communicate with your child. The National Deaf Children’s Society also provides lots of resources including free basic BSL classes. If your child is given an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan some authorities provide funding for parents to attend BSL classes.
Some course providers also offer discounts to parents of deaf children.
Our Study Tips and Guides
There are lots of ways you can improve your fluency and understanding of British Sign Language. Check out our guides and tips for improving particular skills such as fingerspelling. Not ready for BSL Level 2? Then head over to look at what’s covered on BSL Level 1 and BSL Basics.