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What is British Sign Language?


BSL is the most used form of sign language in the UK.  It is mainly used by people who are Deaf or to support those who have a hearing loss. It is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression and body language and has its own grammar and principles, different to spoken English.  It is estimated to be used by around 150,000 people in the UK who are both Deaf and Hearing.  In 2003, it was recognised by the British Government as a language in its own right.

Deafness or hearing loss can impact anyone at any time in their life and can lead to social exclusion or isolation.  Encouraging the widespread use of a consistent form of communication is one effective method which can mitigate these problems.  There are currently 10 million people who have a hearing loss in the UK and an ageing population also means that many more people will face this situation in later life.  BSL skills are therefore increasingly relevant to society.