Level 4 BSL

This course follows the qualification specification laid down by IBSL

Qualification Aim

This qualification aims to further learners’ experiences and development in communication through British Sign Language (BSL) with Deaf people on everyday topics involving work and social contexts. A Level 4 course will enable development in functional BSL communication in more depth than at Level 3, requiring the ability to exchange, present and understand information, ideas, advice and opinions at normal speed, and also develop an awareness of cultural interaction with Deaf people who use BSL.

This qualification has been developed in accordance with the National Language Standards at Level 4 (2010) and (for one unit) the National Occupational Standards for Intercultural Working (2008).

Qualification Objective

At the end of the qualification, learners will be able to:

  • Handle most aspects of their day-to-day work, including the unpredictable;
  • Understand and use relevant technical vocabulary;
  • Distinguish most common accents or regional forms and the style/formality of the language;
  • Understand detailed information from a range of sources but may miss details if you are not being communicated with directly;
  • Communicate confidently over extended periods, though not always concisely or with complete accuracy;
  • Follow discussions, films, live or televised debates, complaints or problems within your area of work;
  • Understand and take part in discussions, meetings and negotiations, contributing formally if required;
  • Make or deal with non-routine phone/video calls.

These objectives relate to the National Occupational Standards (2010) at Level 4 as developed by CILT, plus the National Occupational Standards for Intercultural Working (2008).

Qualification Structure

The qualification is divided into three units as follows:

Unit CodeUnit TitleUnit Description
IBSL 4AUNUnderstand extended Signed Language in a range of work contextsSee Unit IBSL4AUN specification
IBSL 4ASNSign using extended Signed Language in a range of work contextsSee Unit IBSL4ASN specification
IBSL 4ALNExploring Linguistics in British Sign LanguageSee Unit IBSL4ALN specification

Length of Course

The course will consist of 110 GLH plus 40 hours of additional study outside the classroom. This will include access to online learning resources provided by Signworld.

Unit Code

Guided Learning Hours

Additional Study Hours

Total Learning Time

Credit Value at
Level 4





















Topics & Content

The topics and content of any learning on this unit by the learners are expected to be wide-ranging, with vocabulary that is sufficiently technical as to be unpredictable. The key aspect of this unit is that learners should be able to understand the delivery of BSL at normal speed over extended periods. This should be taken to mean passages of five minutes or more.

Although the title refers to work context, the content and assessment criteria provide learners with opportunities to incorporate evidence from a wide range of contexts, including social contexts and social interaction.

Target Group

The Level 4 Certificate in BSL Studies is suitable for those who:

  • Wish to acquire and utilise British Sign Language skills at normal speed over extended periods in a wide range of work and social situations, signing accurately enough to be easily understood.
  • Need to acquire and utilise BSL skills as part of a programme of professional development; for example as a Communication Support Worker
  • Are studying for personal development with a view to future employment;
  • Wish to progress from the Level 3 Certificate;

The qualification is also suitable for Deaf people wishing to acquire a qualification in their own language, as part of a progression route towards Deaf Interpreter status.

Entry Requirement

It is recommended that entrants should have Level 3 Certificate BSL Studies or equivalent.


All the evidences, apart from the ‘live’ assessment, will be collected into a simple coursework file (or e-file if preferred).

Unit CodeAssessment No.Assessment MethodMarked By
IBSL4AUN4.1; 4.3; 4.4; 4.8Video Receptive; 1:1 Dialogue; Receptive Skills Relay; Live ObservationIBSL & T/A
IBSL4ASN4.2; 4.3; 4.5; 4.8Presentation; 1:1 Dialogue; Relay voice to BSL; Live ObservationIBSL & T/A
IBSL4AUN4.6; 4.7Observation of a filmed sequence; Written or Signed AssignmentIBSL

Additional Costs

Learners will be expected to purchase resources for their coursework file.

What are the final qualifications?

IBSL Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language Studies

The qualification is divided into three units, each of which can be achieved separately.  To achieve the full Level 4 Certificate in British Sign Language Studies, Learners are required to achieve all three units

Progression Route

Upon completion of this qualification, learners may progress as follows:

  • IBSL Level 6 Certificate in British Sign Language Studies

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