Questions? Look here

You've likely got some questions you'd like answers to about our courses, and BSL in general too. We try and answer some of the most common ones here. If you're looking for an answer that's not here, we'd be delighted if you emailed us.

Our Courses

  • help_outlineHow long are your courses?
    The length of a course varies depending on how advanced the course is and therefore how much content there is to teach. Typically a Beginners or Improvers course will last 10 teaching weeks. More advanced courses can last anywhere from several months to a year or more. Note that 'teaching weeks' means weeks spent in the classroom being taught. Courses that span public holidays may last longer than ten calendar weeks.
  • help_outlineHow much do courses cost?
    Course cost varies by level. The current price for the course you're interested in is listed on the courses page. Typically, a Beginners course costs £100 and an Improvers course costs £130. The price you see listed against a course is the whole cost, there are no hidden extras or suprise additions. The cost of a course is inclusive of the tuition fee and materials fee. For current pricing of more advanced courses please contact us and we'll let you know.
  • help_outlineDo I earn a qualification at the end of the course?
    On successful completion of a course with BSL Ayrshire you'll be presented with a certificate of achievement. Beginner and Improver courses are developed and delivered by BSL Ayrshire and are not a recognised Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) qualifications. The Improvers course includes optional video evidence of your signing abilities.
  • help_outlineCan I use funding to pay for my course?
    You are free to pursue any avenue you choose to secure funding for your course. In some cases your employer may be prepared to pay for your course if, for example, you work in a shop and it's likely you'll serve members of the public who sign. Unfortunately we do not accept ILA as a method of funding.
  • help_outlineDo I have to pay for my course in full before it starts?
    In order to secure a place on a course we require a £30 deposit, paid at the point of booking, with the remainder payable on or before Week 1 of your course. You are welcome to spread the cost of your course over several payments to suit yourself, providing your course is paid in full by Week 1 of your course.. We reserve the right to refuse entry in cases where an outstanding balance remains unpaid.
  • help_outlineWhat is your cancellation policy?
    If you've booked a course with BSL Ayrshire and can no longer attend we'll be happy to book you onto an alternative course on a future date that suits you better. Alternatively you can cancel your place altogether. Cancelling your place attracts a cancellation fee. The fee is variable depending on how close to your course start date you cancel and reflects our ability, or lack thereof, to re-sell your place.
    • Cancelling more than a month before your course start date
    • No cancellation fee; we'll happily refund all monies paid in full.
    • Cancelling less than a month before your course start date
    • Deposit forfeit (£30). Courses are generally fully booked several months in advance of a course starting. As a result, cancelling at this stage means it's likely we've had to turn someone else away who could have used your spot.
    • Cancelling after your course has started
    • Full course fee (varies by course). Once your course has started it becomes impossible for us to re-sell your place. As a result, the cancellation fee must cover our loss of earnings.
  • help_outlineWhat payment methods do you accept?
    We can accept payment in a number of ways:
    • Cash
    • Credit or Debit Card (Coming soon!)
    • Bank Transfer
    • PayPal
  • help_outlineWhat happens if I miss a week or more of my course?
    We recommend you do your best to attend each week of your course to get the best from the experience, however life events may sometimes mean you need to miss a week. With sufficient effort in your own time using the materials provided it's usually possible to catch up from a missed lesson. We'll be happy to tell you what you've missed and what you need to learn before the next week. If something happens and you're unlikely to be able to attend for several weeks please let us know. In some circumstances we may be able to re-book you on to a later course.
  • help_outlineIs there work to do at home as well as in class?
    There's no specific work to do at home, however the course is very much what you make of it. We would strongly recommend spending time between classes consolidating what you were taught the previous week. Each lesson usually starts with a brief recap of the previous week's topics, so you've got time to raise any specific questions.
  • help_outlineCan I contact my tutor outwith the class?
    Your tutor is available via email at any time, however BSL is a visual language so unless your query is procedural/administrative, your best bet is to wait until your next class and ask your teacher face-to-face. Your tutor will give you their email address at the start of your course. Alternatively, you can email at any time.

British Sign Language

  • help_outlineWhat is BSL?
    Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. Sign Language is used mainly by people who are Deaf or have hearing impairments. In Britain, the most commonly used form of Sign Language is British Sign Language (BSL). BSL has a grammatical structure and syntax that are largely unrelated to spoken English.
  • help_outlineIs BSL a proper language?
    The deaf community, backed by the British Deaf Association, has been pressing for official status for BSL since the early 1980s, however it wasn't until 2003 that BSL was finally recognised by the British Government as an official minority language. The result of this recognition has been increased funding for the needs of the deaf community, plus an increased awareness of the language. BSL now enjoys minority language status which puts the language on a similar footing to languages such as Welsh and Gaelic.
  • help_outlineI've heard of Makaton, is that the same as BSL?
    In short, no, Makaton is very different to BSL. It is correct to say that both languages make use of similar approaches in that both use shapes and signs to communicate but that's largely where the similarity ends. Makaton is a language programme that combines signs with symbols and limited speech to help people with learning or communication difficulties. It is designed to support, not replace, spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order. As people progress in their ability to communicate via spoken word, signs and symbols are typically phased out. BSL is a language that replaces spoken English. BSL has its own structure, facial expressions and lip patterns that means is differs significantly from spoken word. It is the language used by the deaf community in the UK.