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Since 2003, British Sign Language (BSL) has been recognised as an official language by the UK government. The British Deaf Association estimates there are 151,000 BSL users in the UK, of which 87,000 are Deaf. In March 2022 the BSL Act was approved by the UK Parliament, affording BSL the same legal rights and protection as Welsh and Gaelic. The implications of this are wide-ranging, including the provision of BSL as a GCSE qualification.

What's it like to learn British Sign Language (BSL) with the IWLP?

Read posts from former students on our blog. You can also read about how you’ll learn on an IWLP module and the reasons why you should take an IWLP module.

Students of IWLP British Sign Language may also get the chance for some extra-curricular activities, such as film screenings.

How do I sign up?

For detailed information, see our how to apply page. New students arriving for their first year who want to take IWLP for credit need to request to take the module via their support centre before week two of Semester 1. Existing students who want to take an IWLP module for credit in the following academic year need to sign up via RISIS module selection in April. All non-credit students must submit the non-credit application form please note that non-credit applications open in September.

Placement test

If you have any previous knowledge of British Sign Language, you must complete the placement test so that we can put you in the correct stage -please note that the placement test is only open from April to October.

Modules available

LA1PB1-IWLP British Sign Language 1

This beginner’s module is for students who have no prior knowledge or virtually no knowledge of British Sign Language. This module will provide an introduction to British Sign Language, concentrating on its communicative use in familiar, everyday situations. Students will acquire a basic understanding of BSL and the ability to communicate at a survival level through signing.

BSL 1 module description

LA1PB2-IWLP British Sign Language 2

This post-beginner module is for students who have some basic knowledge of British Sign Language, such as that acquired by attending LA1PB1 or equivalent. Students will increase their ability to communicate in BSL by building on their basic knowledge of language necessary for everyday situations. This module also includes linguistic analysis of the grammatical components of BSL and work on “Deafhood”, i.e. the history of oppression of Deaf people and its impact on their culture.

BSL 2 module description

LA1PB3-IWLP British Sign Language 3

This lower-intermediate module is for students who have some previous knowledge of BSL, such as that acquired by attending LA1PB2 or equivalent. Students will increase their ability to communicate in BSL through engagement with a range of socially relevant and interesting topics linked to the Deaf community, such as education, health, and technology, and a short research project.

BSL 3 module description 

If you would like to take BSL at a higher level than we currently offer, please contact us via