Signature Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People

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This QIP covers a vocational qualification which is not listed on the Department for Education (DfE) 16 – 19 performance tables for England.

This qualification is not listed on the 16 – 19 performance tables because it is not designed to meet the requirements of the Key Stage 5 performance tables.

  • UK

Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable students to gain the skills required to perform a particular job, or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.

Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the DfE performance tables, if approved for teaching to 16-19 year olds by the Secretary of State for Education in England under Section 96, where this is in the best interests of individual students.

This qualification will enable students develop knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to communication with deafblind* people who do not use English or British Sign Language (BSL) as a formal language. Causes and implications of congenital deafblindness and the roles of those who promote and develop communication, including the development of a communication method is explored in detail. The importance of a deafblind person’s wishes in decision-making is seen as vital.

Education context

This qualification is designed for post-16 students and falls under the oversight of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). A significant number of students will undertake these qualifications post-19.

Following its 2012 review of post-19 qualifications the ESFA removed 1,800 qualifications from public funding and a further 1,000 in 2014. In March 2014 the government published a Reform Plan for Vocational Education.

This qualification has not been subject to the same reforms as Applied General and Tech Level qualifications (which are specifcially designed for 16-19 year old students), however the ESFA has implemented a new set of business rules for the approval of qualifications for funding, based on the 2013 Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England. These rules recognise that adults may have different needs, aspirations and ambitions to younger people and include that qualifications should be:

  • relevant to individuals and employers and affordable for all sizes of business and for individuals
  • rigorous and based on a robust future-looking occupational standard designed and assessed by the sector
  • recognised as worthy of investment, giving a clear signal of the economically valuable skills, knowledge and understanding required in an occupation now and in the future.

Regulation of vocational qualifications

The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country – Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland) SQA (Scotland) and Qualifications Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.

Awarding organisation
  • Signature
Qualification code

This qualification comprises 2 units, both of which are mandatory.

Subject areas
  • Understand congenital deafblindness
  • The congenitally deafblind individual
  • Level 3

Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.


Candidates must achieve a pass in all units to achieve an overall pass in the qualification.


Understanding congenital deafblindness - 1 hour written paper

Understanding the congenitally deafblind individual - 1 hour written paper

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Understanding congenital deafblindness - 50%

Understanding the congenitally deafblind individual - 50%

Resit arrangements

All units are assessed individually and can be re-sat should candidates fail one of the units of the 4 associated with this qualification.

Guided/notional learning hours
60 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

40 hours guided learning with 20 hours additional study

UCAS Tariff points

Signature Level 3 Award in Insights into Communication with Congenitally Deafblind People

Grade Points
P 8


Key issues for UK HE admissions

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications that are not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables for England:

  • Some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE.
  • Applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications.
  • These qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
  • If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.

Holders of this qualification will be able to support congenitally deafblind people.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Candidates' assessments are 'on demand' with a notice period of between 1 week and 6 weeks.

Candidates will receive their results within 6 weeks of the assessment date.

Certificates are issued to successful candidates within 4 weeks of results being issued.

Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of this qualification are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification. HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.

View the results available through ABL.

Certification of this qualification is reported to Ofqual and the DfE.

Progression information

Signature offer other qualifications in British sign language and deafblind which candidates may be interested in pursuing.