FOI22/23 030 Provision of BSL in Schools

Date published: 28/09/2022

FOI reference: 22/23 030

Date received: 27/06/2022

Date responded: 25/07/2022

Information requested

Please send any information relating to the provision of BSL in schools. Please send information relating to the development of Nat Certificate 5 (BSL) Please send a copy of your BSL plan or direct me to it.


Provision of BSL in schools

SQA offers a few standalone units that can be delivered by schools and these units have been available since 2013:

Unit Title                          SCQF level         Unit code        Web link

British Sign Language    SCQF  level 3      F8Y0 09          British Sign Language SCQF 3

British Sign Language     SCQF level 4      H3PA 10          British Sign Language SCQF 4

British Sign Language     SCQF level 5      H3PA 11          British Sign Language SCQF 5

British Sign Language     SCQF level 6      H3PA 12          British Sign Language SCQF 6

British Sign Language (BSL) - National Units

More recently SQA has developed awards in BSL at SCQF levels 3, 4, 5 and 6. The award at SCQF level 3 is made up of two units and the awards at SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6 each contain three units.

 Awards in British Sign Language

Development of Nat Certificate 5 (BSL)

SQA offers many different types and sizes of qualification, each designed to cater for different groups of learners. The type of qualification we call National Certificates are large group awards that usually contain around 12 units (or 72 SCQF credit points). National Certificates are usually vocational qualifications and mainly delivered by colleges. We do not intend to develop a National Certificate in BSL.

When SQA was looking to develop new qualifications for BSL that could be offered in schools, it was decided that we needed a qualification of an equivalent size and level as a National Course, so that it would fit easily into the normal school timetable. We therefore used the category or type of qualifications referred to as Awards. This allowed us to develop qualifications comprising 18 SCQF Credit Points at level 3 and 24 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6, the same size as National Courses at these levels.

SQA’s BSL plan

SQA does not have a specific plan in relation to BSL.

The British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 made it a requirement that all listed authorities prepare and publish plans in relation to BSL. However, SQA was not one of the listed authorities.

SQA is specifically mentioned in Action 19 of the British Sign Language National Plan 2017 2023: BSL National Plan 2017

Action 19 states that Scottish Ministers will:

‘Work with the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to develop an initial suite of awards in BSL, which will form the basis for any future development of BSL qualifications up to Level 6 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)’.

As mentioned above, SQA has already developed awards in BSL at SCQF levels 3, 4, 5 and 6, in line with the national plan.