Where can I learn BSL? It’s a common question for anyone interested in learning sign language. Below, we have listed a number of course providers in the UK. This is not a complete list as some course providers do not have a website.
As supporters of the Deaf economy, we only list courses run or endorsed by deaf tutors who use BSL as the first or main language. We do this to preserve the integrity of BSL.
Please read our post about accredited courses. Many of the course providers below run qualification courses as well as family BSL courses (some of which are free). If you are learning BSL for your child or you have a disability and need funding to learn BSL, you can apply to charities such as the Birkdale Trust. You can also look for grants on sites such as Turn2Us.
The courses are listed below in alphabetical order. More details such as where the courses are based, contact information and course cost will be added soon:
Where can I learn BSL for free?
Some course providers run face-to-face taster sessions as an introduction to learning Level 1. You can also use YouTube videos but as a learner you will be unable to work out which videos are worth watching and which ones aren’t. We have a list of sites that are worth visiting if you want to learn basic BSL signs.
Where can I learn BSL online for free?
Some course providers publicise free online taster sessions. You can also try Doncaster Deaf Trust‘ ‘s free online BSL course. It’s a basic video course covering the signs you would learn in a level 1 course.
You will have to pay for most BSL courses as the cost usually covers the tutor’s time as well as resources.
Why are BSL courses so expensive?
Qualification courses cost money too. Ofqual courses used to attract government funding (making them free or cheap). Unfortunately, the funding for BSL courses was stopped some time ago so course providers now charge what it costs to run a course.
Most course providers are small businesses so depend on the income they receive from courses. They also have costs such as registering with the awarding body so they can provide BSL qualifications. To maintain standards and cover costs, bona fide courses will cost between 250 – £2,000 excluding exam fees.
If you are committed to becoming an interpreter, an alternative route is to attend a university course. For example, Wolverhampton University run a BA Hons BSL Interpreting course. The course takes you from beginner level to trainee interpreter within three years.
The list of BSL course providers will be updated regularly. We have tried to find as many course providers as possible. If you are a provider and would like to be added, please contact us via the contact page.