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British Sign Language (BSL) training

We offer 3 different types of remote BSL training courses to help you and your staff communicate with people whose first or preferred language is BSL.

British Sign Language (BSL) is a language used by deaf people to communicate using hand signs, gestures, facial expressions and lip patterns. It’s a totally different language to English. 

Our remote training courses can help you and your staff have a basic conversation with colleagues and customers whose first or preferred language is BSL. 

All courses are delivered by people who are deaf or have hearing loss for first hand experiential learning. 

Get in touch for more information about our courses.

“A fantastic BSL taster session for a staff team day. Everything was straightforward to organise right from the start and the trainer provided a fantastic session via Zoom. Highly recommend.” 

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Types of BSL training courses 

1) Start to sign 

This remote sign language course is delivered by one of our experienced deaf trainers. The 3-hour session covers: 

  • BSL background and Deaf culture 
  • how BSL differs from English 
  • BSL structure 
  • visual and non-visual signs 
  • facial expressions
  • signing space 
  • useful everyday signs – including greetings, numbers, time, questions, fingerspelling and Deaf etiquette. 

2) BSL taster 

This remote BSL taster session is delivered by one of our experienced deaf trainers. 

The 1-hour silent session covers: 

  • the BSL alphabet 
  • useful signs, such as greetings, common phrases, visual signs and non-visual signs 
  • the importance of positioning and facial expressions 
  • company sign. 

3) BSL for beginners e-learning 

Your staff will benefit from flexible learning by using a range of: 

  • informal video clips 
  • receptive practice 
  • short quizzes
  • vocabulary. 

The course will give your staff the confidence and skills they need to communicate effectively with deaf customers. 

The course is hosted on an online learning hub by Signature, the awarding body for British Sign Language qualification. It’s been designed so staff members can study at their own pace. Progress is logged and sections can be revisited at any time.

More information about BSL training

Benefits of BSL training

After the training, staff members will:

    • be able to recognise and apply basic grammatical structures in BSL

    • use appropriate greetings

    • be able to explain their job title and role in BSL

    • be able to hold a brief conversation with a deaf person using everyday vocabulary.

How many people in the UK use BSL

BSL is the preferred language of over 87,000 Deaf people in the UK for whom English may be a second or third language.

A total of 151,000 people in the UK can use BSL – this figure does not include professional BSL users, interpreters and translators, unless they use BSL at home.

Source: British Deaf Association

Course length

Our remote Start to sign course consists of 3 1-hour sessions. These are ideally delivered on consecutive days/weeks.

Our BSL trainers

All of our sign language trainers use BSL as their first or preferred language. This means they’re able to use their personal experience of the barriers faced by people who are Deaf.

Why you should choose RNID

As the UK’s largest charity for deaf people and people with hearing loss and tinnitus, we’re expertly placed to provide BSL courses for the public, private and voluntary sectors.

How to book BSL training

Get in touch to discuss how we can help your organisation.  We’re open 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Contact us

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Page last updated: 4 May 2023

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