level 2 certificate in bsl

Level 2 Certificate in BSL

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.

Below 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:

  • 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

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, 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

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

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, refunds and explain services such as Paypal.
  • Describe and discuss your shopping experiences, including buying things online
  • Compare sizes, cost, 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

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 BSL 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.

IBSL level 2

IBSL also offer the Level 2 Certificate in BSL Studies.

You cover similar topics for the iBSL course but the course differs slightly in that you prepare a portfolio to show you are competent across all the skills needed at Level 2:

Module 1 focuses on practising receptive skills, e.g. understanding details about  daily  routines

Module 2 focuses on presentation skills. As a learner, you will need to show that you can give information  about yourself  and  others about  everyday personal  or  social activities.

Module 3 focuses on conversation skills. The type areas  to  be  covered  in  this  category  include  the  ability  to  ask  and  respond  to questions  about  topics such as family members,  friends  and colleagues  or  those  you   meet  regularly  at  work,  school  or  college. This module is assessed across two exams, 1:1 with a tutor and in a group setting.

The iBSL exams are also different to Signature’s. For BSL level 2, an external examiner (EE) will attend your centre and assess your signing skill.

There are four iBSL assessments:

  • BSL2A1 receptive skills assessment – you will watch a video clip and complete a multiple choice question paper
  • BSL2A2 productive skills assessment- you will be given a choice of topics to create a 3-5 minute presentation.
  • BSL2A3 conversation skills assessment – this will also be a 6-7 minute conversation from a choice of topics.
  • BSL2A4 ‘Live’ conversation skills – an external examiner will visit the centre and assess the students ability to use BSL in a group conversation.

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. Both Signature and iBSL 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 Course providers:

Below is our list of recommended, verified Ofqual courses that offer the BSL level 2 qualification.

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 offer BSL Level 2 online only.

B.S.L Training are based in Kent. they offer both online and classroom courses.

Deaf Action are based in Scotland. They offer both online and classroom courses.

Deaf Unity are based in London. They offer both online and classroom courses.

Deaf Solutions 3 are offering BSL Level 2 online only.

HiKent are based in Kent. They offer both online and classroom courses.

Remark are based in London. They offer both online and classroom courses.

Simply Signed are 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 also 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 costs from £400 – £900. Most courses are inclusive of assessment fees but you need to check this with your course provider. Some course providers prefer to wait until you have completed 2 or 3 modules before asking you to pay your exam fees. Both Signature and IBSL charge fees for assessing learner’s competency so exam costs are mandatory if you wish to gain a qualification. Course costs vary across the UK – some course providers will pay more for hiring classrooms than others and that cost will be reflected in student fees.

Can I learn BSL Level 2 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 amount of hours you need, no regulated course provider would be in a 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 courses as they are likely to cost you more in terms of time wasted and money when resitting exams.

What jobs can I do with BSL level 2?

If you are considering how you might use your BSL qualification in the future, please check out our post on jobs you can do with BSL. BSL level 2 is the equivalent of a GCSE; it is a stepping stone on the path towards becoming fluent. Generally, learners are aiming to work as a Communication Support Worker or 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? The National Deaf Children’s Society 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 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.