Sign Reach




Frequently Asked Questions

We follow Cambridgeshire/Hertfordshire school term dates.

Level 1 is approximately 30 weeks (2 hours per week).

Level 2 is approximately 30 weeks (3 hours per week).

Level 3 is approximately 47 weeks (3 hours per week).

Homework will be given and we recommend that you recap the vocabulary and grammar we learned in class.

Signature recommends the following independent study times in addition to the time we spend in the classroom:

Level 1 – approximately 1 hour per week

Level 2 – approximately 2 hours per week

Level 3 – approximately 2.5 hours per week

It is not a problem to miss occasional classes, as we do a lot of recap in the sessions and you will receive the handouts and course materials to help you catch up.

However, Signature regulations require attendance of 80% of all lessons in order for students to pass the course. Your tutor will only book you in for exams if they are confident you have attended enough sessions.

All our classes are taught by deaf teachers.

Adam is currently running Tuesday daytime Level 1 as well as all Level 2 and Level 3 classes in Cambridge. Adam also teaches all Stevenage classes.

Claire is currently running Thursday evening Level 1 in Cambridge.

Our Cambridge location is Cambridgeshire Deaf Association, 8 Romsey Terrace, Cambridge, CB1 3NH.

Parking is limited and available on a first-come first-served basis.

It is a fifteen-minute walk to Cambridge train station and there is a bus stop right outside on Mill Road, served by Stagecoach line 2.


Our Stevenage location is The Phoenix Group for Deaf Children and Young Adults, The Hydeout Centre, 2-6 The Hyde, Stevenage, SG2 9SE.

A car park is available on Shephall Way.

Stevenage Interchange (bus station) is a five-minute walk from Stevenage train station. To travel by bus to Phoenix from Stevenage Interchange take the SB4 or SB5 to Shephall, Hyde Centre.

Getting funding for BSL courses is notoriously difficult. Some funding may be available through Sensory Services at your local council, especially if you have a deaf family member or are deaf/hard of hearing yourself.

Cambridgeshire Deaf Association funds some places on SignReach courses for parents of deaf children. To learn more, please contact Basia:

You will need to obtain confirmation of funding from CDA before you can enrol in the class.

Depending on your age there are a few grants available for young people, but these are very competitive. One example is the Birkdale Trust for Hearing Impaired:

If you are working, it may just be worth asking your employer if they can support you for your continuous professional development. Some employers do!

Sadly, SignReach itself doesn’t receive any funding and therefore we are unable to offer reduced rates, but we do offer monthly payment plans as we understand it is a big financial commitment.

As a complete beginner, you can either attend a taster session or Introduction to BSL, which we run occasionally – details will be announced on social media and on this website.

Or, if you are ready to commit to learning BSL, you can enrol in our Level 1 course. This is aimed at beginners and you do not require any previous knowledge.

In most cases, we will still recommend you start at Level 1.

While it is great that you already know some signs, most introduction programmes (like for example Sense Sign School) only give you some basic vocabulary. They do not cover grammar.

To give you a better idea: at the end of Level 1, students are able to hold small conversations about a variety of topics in BSL, using the correct sign order (which is different from English) and non-manual features like facial expressions and lip patterns. So there’s a lot more to Level 1 than vocabulary (though it’s a great start obviously).

Here is the qualification aim for Level 1 from Signature:

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

  • Understand and use a limited range of simple words and sentences in BSL
  • Take part in simple, everyday conversations in BSL
  • Give and follow simple directions or instructions in BSL
  • Give and follow simple familiar statements or descriptions in BSL


If you have attended a programme like BabySign or have learned Makaton, please note that these are communication systems that use amended, adapted or simplified signs and are not British Sign Language. These programmes are there to support communication with babies or people with special needs and are not a proper language, like BSL. No BSL grammar is used in those systems.

If you do believe that your existing knowledge is equivalent to Level 1, we can arrange a private tutorial session where we assess your skills and determine whether you are ready to proceed to Level 2. Please get in touch if you wish to arrange this.

Cancellations must be received 14 days prior to the beginning of the course and a refund will be provided within 7 days, minus a £50 fee to cover our administrative expenses.

No refunds can be given for learners who do not take their place on the course if less than 14 days’ notice is provided, and if you have signed up for a payment plan, you will be liable to pay all outstanding instalments.