Sign language at GCSE pilot scheme

23rd November 2015

Chatham & Clarendon Grammar is one of six schools in the UK currently involved in a pilot scheme to teach British Sign Language at GCSE.

The school has been offering a level 1 qualification in BSL for 4 years, which has been met with great enthusiasm and enjoyment by the students involved.

 It is hoped that the GCSE course will be rolled out in schools across the country in 2017. Students study Deaf Awareness, Deaf History and Productive and Receptive skills, and then take an exam that is both written and involving presentations and comprehension.

Ellis Moore in year 12 looked into the details, having  completed a level 1 course herself last year,

“The course will allow students to gain the ability to be able to communicate with Deaf people and will also gain a qualification that will give them further career choices in the future. Anyone that achieves a GCSE in BSL will then be able to progress to Level 3, Level 4 and Level 6.  Following this, candidates can apply for Interpreter Training to work towards becoming a fully qualified Interpreter and/or Translator.  BSL qualifications are also vital for working as Communication Support Workers in both an educational and working environment. I think it’s an amazing opportunity”

Gail Josline, a BSL teacher with the The John Townsend Trust said,

“BSL is more regularly used than the common foreign languages found in schools because they’re used on a day to day basis or within the work place.  Deaf people are an integral part of everyone’s local and wider community after all. More than 800,000 people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf, so schools engaging with BSL is very welcome.”


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