British Sign Language Award SCQF level 3

The British Sign Language Award at SCQF level 3 has been designed to appeal to both hearing and deaf learners. This Award will help learners to develop their language skills and enable them to communicate with British Sign Language (BSL) users in various contexts. Learners will also develop their understanding of how sign languages work, and how they differ from spoken and written languages.

This Award will help learners develop the following language competences: receptive skills, productive skills, conversation skills and knowledge of sign linguistics.

Achievement of this Award is nationally recognised.

This qualification is available through schools, colleges, community organisations and volunteer-involving organisations.

Use the BSL interpreting service

If you use British Sign Language (BSL), the Contact Scotland BSL service has an online interpreter to help you communicate with us.

Find out more about Contact Scotland BSL

This Award has a wide potential market. It is open to all learners, regardless of age, academic experience or ability.

Centres have the flexibility to choose the delivery method which best suits their circumstances and their learners.

The Award can be used to offer a progression pathway to other qualifications (see Progression).

The British Sign Language Award at SCQF level 3 is suitable for:

  • S3-S6 pupils
  • school leavers
  • college students
  • adult returners to education
  • anyone in a volunteering role
  • trainees preparing for employment
  • employees studying as part of a continuing professional development programme
  • individuals involved in voluntary activities
  • people in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • those who wish to start their own business


Entry to the Award is at the discretion of the centre. Centres can decide an appropriate starting level for each learner, based on the learner's existing knowledge and experience of BSL and/or learning across other languages. However, some previous knowledge and interest in BSL may be an advantage.

Awards in BSL

The Award may provide progression to:

Award Title Award Code SCQF level Learning hours
Award in British Sign Language GP3L 43 3 180
Award in British Sign Language GP3M 44 4 240
Award in British Sign Language GR7M 45 5 240
Award in British Sign Language TBA 6 240

An Award in BSL is planned at SCQF level 6. More information on this new Award will be published in late 2021.

There are also standalone BSL National Units (SCQF levels 3-6), Higher National BSL Units (SCQF levels 6 and 7) and a PDA in BSL Studies (SCQF level 8) which could provide progression pathways for learners.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will need to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

In addition, the document below has advice for schools on the qualifications and experience required by staff delivering the BSL Awards:

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Awards are not graded.

Each unit is assessed separately.

Assessment can take place at appropriate points as candidates progress through the tasks within the units. Evidence of assessment can be presented in a format which best suits the individual candidates and the activities being undertaken.

Evidence should include filmed footage of live production of BSL, and can also include written records, assessor records, or photographs.

Assessment support packs for all units are available on the SQA secure website.

Group award code: GP3L 43 (18 SCQF credit points)

The Award in British Sign Language at SCQF level 3 consists of two mandatory units:

  • J1FP 43 British Sign Language: Understanding Language and Linguistics
  • J1FR 43 British Sign Language: Using Language in Context

See the group award specification for the full list of mandatory units.

Other qualifications in BSL