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FAQs


How is my learning assessed?

Learning achievement in IBSL is measured in a variety of ways.
On most courses in BSL Studies and Deaf Studies at Level 1, the teacher assesses the learning through set tasks or assignments which are then moderated and marked at IBSL. Others at Level 1, for example Deaf Awareness or Deafblind Awareness, there is a short examination paper with multiple choice questions to test your learning and knowledge.
At higher levels, there may be a variety of assessment methods. In addition to teacher-based assessments, these methods may include projects, assignments, essays and observed tasks collected into a coursework file.

Why do I need a Unique Learner Number (ULN)?

The ULN is designed to help you register or enrol on a course. It helps you prove all your learning and achievements from secondary school onwards. All these achievements are input into an online record called a Personal Learning Record (PLR) which is maintained by the Learning Records Service (see www.learningrecordsservice.org.uk)

The ULN is the education equivalent of your National Insurance number.

I am registered with one centre, but I have to move to a different part of the country before I finish my course.

All IBSL qualifications are nationally recognised. This means if you move, your credits (and your ULN) move with you and you can achieve more credits at your new location, with a new learning Centre, which may contribute to achieving another qualification.

When can I expect my results?

We aim to issue results no longer than 28 working days after receipt of the assessment papers at IBSL following final assessments, providing there are no queries regarding the assessment procedures.

What can I do if I don’t agree with any assessment decision?

In the first instance you should discuss your assessment results with your teacher who will provide you with information on how you have done. If after that you are still not happy, you need to contact the Centre and follow their procedure for making a formal appeal. If you are still not happy you can appeal to IBSL but you will need to have evidence that you have correctly followed the Centre’s appeals process.

What happens if I achieve the qualification?

For each qualification that you achieve, you receive a certificate.

How will I get my certificate?

The Centre where you are learning is responsible for registering you with us. Once you have completed your course and assessments, the results are issued after all marking has been done to the Centre, together with the certificates. We then issue your certificate to the Centre. They should either send it on to you, or arrange for you to collect it.

My certificate has been lost or damaged.

You should first contact the centre where your examination or assessments took place and they will take the matter up with us.

If you cannot contact the centre where you took your examination or assessments, please contact IBSL.

Replacement certificates cost £26.00 which must be paid before any replacement is issued.


Information for New Centres

What do we have to do to become a new IBSL centre?

If you are considering becoming a centre that offers our qualifications, the starting point is to complete a Centre Enquiry form that lets you tell us about your proposed centre, capture your details and tell us what you’d like to offer.

Once we receive this, we will contact you further to explore your systems and processes with which you intend to support delivery of the qualification. We may invite you to a training event to enable you to acquire the knowledge needed to run the qualification(s).

We will ask you to complete a Centre Agreement to sign up to our terms and conditions. We will also ask you to confirm that you have in place appropriate policies/statements in place. Please see the checklist in our Key Documents section for the policies that you need to have as a centre

We will also allocate to you a Centre Number that is unique to yourselves.

We have completed the Centre Enquiry form, and Confirmation checklist of policies required, and received our Centre Number – what next?

You will now need to choose what qualifications you wish to offer, and complete an Annual Qualification Approval Form detailing the qualification or qualifications that you wish to run at your centre, and pay the annual fee or fees to enable you to do so.

Please note that a fee is payable for EACH qualification, and is payable EVERY year that you run the qualification. You may run as many courses as you like for those qualifications during the year.

We have enrolled Learners to our new course(s) and commenced teaching – when must we register our Learners?

You must register your Learners with IBSL using the Learner Registration form (LRF) as soon as possible and in accordance with the guidelines in the Learner Registration Guidelines & Deadlines document to be found in our Key Documents section of our Administration pull-down menu in our website. Briefly, these are as follows:

  • One Day courses – within 5 working days of the course taking place;
  • Short Courses of 15 weeks or fewer in duration – within 15 working days
  • Long courses of 16 weeks or more – within 35 working days

Please note that Late Registration Fees are payable for failure to register before the deadlines.

Can we start doing assessments straight away? ;

No, you must register your learners first (except for one-day courses) and wait to receive the assessment paperwork from IBSL. For most courses, assessments cannot take place until 8 weeks after registration of learners.

You have asked us to get Learner ULNs. How do we do this?

The ULN is designed to record all your Learners’ learning and achievements from secondary school onwards. All these achievements are input into an online record called a Personal Learning Record (PLR) which is maintained by the Learning Records Service.

We have already qualification approval for some qualifications but we want to run a different qualification in addition to this. What do we do

You will need to do an additional qualification approval application for the qualification that you wish to add to the range of qualifications you offer and pay the appropriate fee.

Do we need to inform you when we want to have our assessments?

You need to inform us the proposed end date of the courses that you will run, and we will issue the assessment documentation with that date on, but you will be able to hold your assessments at any ti9me of your choosing at any time up to that date.

For one day and short-term courses, you need to give us time to get the assessment paperwork out to you before the date you plan to hold the assessments.

At the time of registering your learners certification will not be allowed without payment of fees.

Can we start doing assessments straight away?

No, you must register your learners first (except for one-day courses) and wait to receive the assessment paperwork from IBSL. For most courses, assessments cannot take place until 8 weeks after registration of learners.

You have asked us to get Learner ULNs. How do we do this?

The ULN is designed to record all your Learners’ learning and achievements from secondary school onwards. All these achievements are input into an online record called a Personal Learning Record (PLR) which is maintained by the Learning Records Service.

Please see What is a Unique Learner Number (ULN)? document to be found in our Key Documents section of our Administration pull-down menu in our website. This explains the procedure.

We have already qualification approval for some qualifications but we want to run a different qualification in addition to this. What do we do?

You will need to do an additional qualification approval application for the qualification that you wish to add to the range of qualifications you offer and pay the appropriate fee.

Do we need to inform you when we want to have our assessments?

You need to inform us the proposed end date of the courses that you will run, and we will issue the assessment documentation with that date on, but you will be able to hold your assessments at any time of your choosing at any time up to that date.

For one day and short-term courses, you need to give us time to get the assessment paperwork out to you before the date you plan to hold the assessments.

For your courses at higher levels (Levels 2, 3, 4 & 6 BSL Studies), you need to let us know when you propose to hold the final assessment as we will need to arrange a visit of our External Examiner.

What is an External Examiner visit? ?

Not all courses/qualifications require an External Examiner visit. These are confined mostly to Levels 2, 3, 4 & 6 BSL Studies. On the External Examiner visit, he or she will examine the coursework files and allied paperwork before conducting a live examination of the final assessment.

What happens if a learner registered with you has to move to a different part of the country before I finish the course is finished? >

All IBSL qualifications are nationally recognised. This means if a learner moves, their credits (and ULN) moves with them and they can achieve more credits at their new location, with a new learning Centre, which may contribute to achieving another qualification.

When can I expect my learners’ results?

We aim to issue results no longer than 28 working days after receipt of the assessment papers at IBSL following final assessments, providing there are no queries regarding the assessment procedures.

How do I book to go on a IBSL Training Event/Annual Standardisation meeting?

Dates of IBSL events are available on the Events pull-down tab at the top of every page on the website. The booking form is also available on this page underlined as Day Booking Form. Click on it, fill it in and email to the address stated.

Dropboxes, Google Drive and Other Media

Our assessment regulations state that all filmed evidence/assessment submissions must be made using:

  • DVD disks
  • USB devices, or other similar.

A number of Centres have been using Dropbox or Google Drive or other electronic software including YouTube to send to IBSL completed filmed assessments. Unfortunately, we can no longer be accept submissions of assessment data on these media facilities. We sincerely regret having to take this step which is due to several factors:

  • Centres have not been using these facilities correctly, resulting in lost transmissions or incomplete files being transmitted, therefore causing the issue of certificates/results to be seriously delayed.
  • There are so many different apps on the market and it is difficult to manage the correct use of media facilities.
  • Some apps are not secure enough to comply with the General Conditions of Recognition.
  • IBSL has increased its External Examiner pool and more completed assessments are now being sent out for marking and moderating. This is not possible with the use of Dropboxes and other electronic software.

We will continue to accept completed BSL-Voice audio recordings using MP3 or MP4 files attached to emails. These are for Level 4 and Level 6 BSL-Voice assessments only. These emails must be sent to admin@ibsl.org.uk.

All other assessment data must be on DVD or USB if sent to IBSL. Centres are responsible for making sure they retain copies in case of mail losses. IBSL does NOT return such devices as they form part of evidence submissions and must be retained by us.


What is a Unique Learner Number (ULN)?

A Unique Learner number (ULN) is a 10-digit number which is unique to the Learner and is used in England, Wales & Northern Ireland. It is used to match a learner’s achievement in to their Personal Learning Record (PLR).

ULNs are mandatory for all students entered for an exam at a state-funded school/college in England but not for private candidates. In Wales, the Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is committed to working with the provision of ULNs. Some awarding bodies/organisations and schools still use Unique Candidate Identifiers (UCI), especially in Northern Ireland. However, UCIs are being phased out and will eventually be replaced by ULNs for every Learner. IBSL does not use UCIs. Every learner who accesses an IBSL qualification is identified by his or her ULN.

**Note: Scotland uses its own learner or candidate identifier called Scottish Candidate Number. This Circular does not therefore apply to Scottish Centres.

Learners retain the same ULN number for accessing their personal learning record (PLR) throughout their lives whatever level of learning they attain and wherever they choose to undertake education, training and learning. ULNs are also always shown on certificates and results slips.

How does a Centre obtain a ULN?

Before a Centre can register Learners or search for ULN numbers, it must first register with the Skills Funding Agency to obtain a UKPRN (UK Provider Reference Number) www.ukrlp.co.uk.

All training providers (whether a school, college, university, private agency or employer) that aims to deliver IBSL qualifications must register as a training or learning provider with the UK Register of Learning Providers (or through the Skills Funding Agency). This is a simple 5-minute online process via the website www.ukrlp.co.uk

Once the Centre has obtained their UKPRN, they can go on and register their learners online through a simple process at www.learningrecordsservice.org.uk/products/lrs/


What is a Centre Agreement?

In May 2011, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations (Ofqual) launched the Criteria for Recognition and the General Conditions of Recognition. Ofqual is the regulator for qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and for vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. In Wales, regulatory duties are carried out by the Welsh Government.

The Criteria for Recognition and the General Conditions of Recognition have their basis in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and are, therefore, legally enforceable requirements that awarding organisations such as the Institute of British Sign Language (IBSL) have to comply with.

Some of the General Conditions of Recognition have an impact on centres that IBSL work with. In the Conditions, the definition of a centre is:

an organisation undertaking the delivery of an assessment (and potentially other activities) to Learners on behalf of an awarding organisation. Centres are typically educational institutions, training providers or employers.

A key element in the relationship between a centre and an awarding organisation is listed in Condition C2 of the General Conditions of Recognition,which states that ‘a written enforceable agreement’ must be in place between centres and the awarding body/organisation.

IBSL’s Centre Agreement is made up in a standard format that is common to many other awarding organisations.

or new centres, IBSL requires that the Centre Agreement be signed and returned within six weeks from the date they are accepted as an IBSL centre and before any assessments are carried out.

We regret we do not have BSL version for these at present. We will upload as soon as possible