British Sign Language (BSL): Guide

Dani Sive (Headteacher Frank Barnes School) and Catherine Drew (Key Stage 1/2 Team Leader Frank Barnes School) | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

BSL in Teaching

BSL is used in schools and other education settings to deliver the curriculum.  Some schools have a bilingual philosophy where the curriculum is delivered in BSL and English is taught as a separate language, using BSL to teach reading and writing in English.  Other schools use the signs of BSL simultaneously with spoken English, sometimes called Sign Supported English, which is often used for children who use spoken English as their predominant language. 

Schools that adopt a bilingual approach use BSL not only to teach the curriculum, but also for communication and provide opportunities for social and emotional development and understanding of the world.


Schools/resource bases that are ordinary/affiliated/full members of the Sign Bilingual Consortium​.

  • Aberdeen School (Aberdeen)
  • Blanche Nevile School (London)
  • Castleford Academy RB (Castleford)
  • Elmfield School (Bristol)
  • Exeter Deaf Academy (Exeter)
  • Frank Barnes School (London)
  • Hamilton Lodge School (Brighton)
  • Heathlands School (St Albans)
  • James Wolfe School (London)
  • Knotty Ash Primary School Deaf Resource Base (Liverpool)
  • Longwill School (Birmingham)
  • Oak Lodge School (London)
  • Royal Cross School (Preston)
  • RSDD (Derby)
  • Thomasson Memorial School (Bolton)
  • Windsor Park School (Falkirk)


  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Leeds


Association of BSL Teachers & Assessors (ABSLTA)

ABSLTA is the leading organisation for BSL Teachers & Assessors.

The object of ABSLTA is:

(1) The advancement of education for the benefit of the public in British Sign Language (BSL) as a primary or second language, by ensuring and enhancing the quality of training of BSL teachers and assessors and their continuing professional development.

(2) The promotion of equality and diversity for the public benefit by:

(A) the elimination of discrimination in the education sector on the grounds of being a deaf BSL user;

(B) setting standards with regard to the teaching and assessment of BSL in the UK;

(C) advocating those standards at local, regional and national level;

(D) providing opportunities for members to engage with awarding bodies concerned with the teaching and assessment of BSL in furtherance of those standards.