British Sign Language

Online Community

There are many online forums and websites which promote BSL in deaf education, including the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) and Deaf Teachers of the Deaf (DTOD). There are Facebook groups as well.

Areas for further research

Further research into a broad range BSL assessments to assess deaf children’s language development will be beneficial, in addition to measuring the impact and benefit of deaf children learning and using BSL on the development of their English skills. 

Editors' Comments

We hope that more people recognise the value and importance of BSL as a language in its own right and the benefits this has on deaf children’s literacy skills.


The information in this MESHGuide is intended to be used to provide awareness and develop understanding of BSL and its role in deaf education and as a language in its own right.

Strength of Evidence

We have provided evidence for the information in this MESHGuide with full references, including research published in peer reviewed journals.

Learning BSL

BSL Courses

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 Employment

Some deaf people use BSL in a variety of employment contexts to communicate.  Some work with deaf colleagues and they can communicate directly with each other in BSL, while some deaf people need to communicate with hearing colleagues who cannot use BSL, or only have limited BSL skills. 

BSL courses

One can learn BSL through accredited courses that are delivered by a number of providers, include colleges, schools and private companies.  BSL courses start at beginner stage (Level 1) and progress to Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level 6, the highest level.  Courses vary in length and frequency, with some courses delivered in class by a BSL teacher/tutor, or online.  Courses are designed for students to learn the vocabulary, grammar and syntax of BSL in order to communicate with BSL-users.  An online search will provide a list of course providers locally, or give details of online courses

Working with BSL and English

Articles, Journals, Books and Research Evidence in Working with BSL and English

Borgna, G., Convertino, C., Marschark, M., Morrison, C. and Rizzolo, K., 2010. Enhancing deaf students' learning from sign language and text: Metacognition, modality, and the effectiveness of content scaffolding. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 16(1), pp.79-100.


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