terptree: What Do Signature Do?

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

What Do Signature Do?

As with every community, the deaf community have to get to grips with understanding the variety of organisations and associations is no small feat.

So this post is aimed at telling you exactly what Signature are and how they affect you, as well as the services you receive.



Signature is the leading awarding body for qualifications in British & Irish Sign Language, deafblind communication and other deaf communication methods. They are the equivalent of Edexcel for GCSEs.

They also advise the government and many businesses on how they can improve their services and campaign to allow for better access for the deaf community. They are an organisation that are passionate about ensuring deaf and deafblind people have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, the same access to work opportunities, education and general public services.

Signature safeguards the interests of those who rely on communication professionals such as BSL interpreters or lipspeakers and ensure they are fully qualified and registered with NRCPD (see our previous blog).

Signature has been running for over 3 decades and has built up strong values of integrity, commitment, quality and respect. Over 370,000 people have been through their qualifications. All of their qualifications are nationally recognised and accredited by Ofqual (The Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator).

Signature ensures that all of their staff are trained in BSL and Deaf Awareness, which enables communication to flow freely between colleagues and visitors.

They have also campaigned for the development of BSL for secondary education since 2010, with the aim of the introduction of BSL to the national curriculum. Signature have been successful in getting the opportunity to pilot a BSL qualification in 6 schools, which are:

-          St Clere’s School, Essex
-          Oak Lodge School, London
-          Darrick Wood Secondary School, Kent
-          Blackburn College, Blackburn
-          Sanders School, Essex
-          Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School, Kent

The pilot programme started in September 2015. Following the pilot, the organisation is aiming to make the qualification available to all schools. They are seeking recognition to award it as a GCSE qualification and hope in the future that children will be able to leave school with a GCSE in BSL.


Signature also offer training for some forms of communication professionals who do not have a gateway into registering with NRCPD, such as:

-      Training that meets NRCPD registration requirements for Notetakers (This training is open to Notetakers who already hold a Level 2 Certificate in Notetaking, and who are NOT registered as a Notetaker with NRCDP. Individuals will be required to produce their Level 2 certificate before being accepted onto the programme.)
-      Speech To Text Reporter (STTR) training (This training is open to STTRs, who are already registered with BIVR and who can demonstrate speed of 180wpm. Individuals will be required to produce Certificate of speed/membership of BIVR before being accepted onto the programme.) – Signature is currently working on this training meeting NRCDP registration requirements.

To find out more about Signature go to their website here: http://www.signature.org.uk/

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