British Sign Language Award SCQF level 5

The British Sign Language Award at SCQF level 5 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. At SCQF level 5, learners will also have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of the history and development of British Sign Language and the Deaf Community in Scotland and beyond.

For learners who already use British Sign Language, the award will help them develop their ability to communicate clearly, think critically and to use their own language creatively. Those taking the SCQF level 5 award will also gain a deeper insight into the history and cultural heritage of British Sign Language.

Achievement of this Award is nationally recognised.

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

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 5 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 British Sign Language and/or learning across other languages. However, some previous knowledge and interest in British Sign Language may be an advantage.

Awards in BSL

The Award may provide progression to:

Award title Award code SCQF level Award type
British Sign Language GP3L 43 3 AWD
British Sign Language GP3M 44 4 AWD
British Sign Language GR7M 45 5 AWD
British Sign Language Studies GE6Y 48 8 PDA

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: GR7M 45 (24 SCQF credit points)

The Award in British Sign Language at SCQF level 5 consists of three mandatory units:

  • J45N 45 British Sign Language: Understanding Language and Linguistics
  • J45P 45 British Sign Language: Using Language in Context
  • J45R 45 British Sign Language: History and the Deaf Community

Other qualifications in BSL