Child using sign language

British Sign Language: Quality Embedding of the Discipline (BSL:QED)

The main aim of this project is to establish a new on-line curriculum for the teaching of British Sign Language (BSL) at HE level.

Key contact(s):

Lynne Barnes (Project Director)
Deaf Studies Team
Department of Education and Social Science
University of Central Lancashire

Funded by:

ESCALATE: Higher Education Academy Education Subject Centre

Project partners

  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University College London
  • University of Lancaster

Project aims

The main aim of this project is to establish a new on-line curriculum for the teaching of British Sign Language (BSL) at HE level. Currently, BSL is taught at many universities in the UK using NVQ or CACDP curricula. Several of these were obtained from colleges and FE establishments which have at varying levels, been amended to suit individual HE programmes. There is currently no standardised curriculum for BSL in HE.

The research team at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), in partnership with UCL and the University of Lancaster, have worked with a number of  linguists, stakeholders and relevant organisations to ensure that the new BSL curriculum will mirror modern foreign language curricula, raise academic standards and secure the future of BSL in HE.

The researchers have analysed a number of sign language curricula from around the globe, looking intensively at sign language programmes from universities overseas and a large number of presently available BSL curricula in the UK. This information, including teaching philosophies, methodology, delivery of language learning and a quantity of teaching materials has been plotted alongside the European Framework of Languages and has informed curriculum development.

The final website will include curricula for teaching BSL from ab initio to advanced level; incorporating syllabi, schemes of work, lesson plans, model assessments, cultural and linguistic notes and both written and signed resources.

A large number of sign language tutors and students have contributed to the project via interviews and consultations. A collaborative network has been established which will enable us to inform people of upcoming workshops, seminars and master classes to be held at regular intervals. A large percentage of our target audience have openly expressed support for this project and we will continue to work closely to ensure the success of the new curriculum. Our new website (currently under construction) will provide opportunities for further contributions during the development phases and this will serve as the platform for distribution of our final curriculum. 

If you are interested in developing BSL courses at your institution or would like to be involved in this collaboration, please contact Lynne Barnes, Project Director,


University of  Central Lancashire

ESCALATE: Education Subject Centre