Signature Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language (QCF)

Qualification code

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 can be used as evidence of the language skills needed to work independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with deaf people (social workers, teachers of the deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers in deaf organisations, schools, etc.), those who aspire to work in these contexts, and those who wish to expand their knowledge and skills in British Sign Language.

This qualification is part of a larger suite of British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications ranging from Level 1 to Level 6.


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


Sign Linguistics Knowledge

One 45 minute written paper requiring short written answers, which is externally marked.

Understand varied British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

The assessment requires the candidate to watch a 20 minute conversation between two deaf people, and provide answers to questions based on what they have understood about the conversation. This is externally marked.

Use varied British Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

The candidate will prepare a eight to ten minute presentation based on a topic chosen four weeks prior to the assessment from a set of topics given to them. They will then have an eight to ten minute conversation with their teacher. The assessment is video recorded and sent to an assessor for external marking.

Further information


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 communicate with deaf people who use British Sign Language.