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Level 6 NVQ Certificate in Irish Sign Language (ISL) caters for the learning needs of those who already have competence in ISL at Level 3. Successful candidates must be able to demonstrate competence at Level 6 of the UK Occupational Language Standards (CILT, 2010). This means that the learner will be able to understand and use complex ISL in a range of work and social situations.

The assessment criteria for this qualification are taken from the UK Occupational Language Standards at Level 6 (?Complex? language use) and are equivalent to those for Modern Foreign Languages at Honours Degree level.

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The qualification is at:

  • Level 6 on the Qualification & Credit Framework (QCF),
  • Proficiency Grades 13 ? 15 on the Language Ladder, and
  • Proficient User: C1 ?Effective operational proficiency? on the Common European Framework.

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to be able to operate at a professionally proficient level in the target language. It is useful for those who work professionally with Deaf people (for example teachers and lecturers in ISL, social workers, teachers of the Deaf, trainee interpreters, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, etc) or those who aspire to work in these contexts. The Unit Titles refer to ?work situations? but the content and assessment criteria allow for evidence from a wide range of contexts.

The qualifications are accredited by Ofqual (The British Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator). The Awarding Body is Signature. The Qualifications are recognised on the British National Qualifications Framework, and are mapped on the European Qualifications and Credits Framework, QCF.

Structure for Delivery

NVQs were originally designed to recognise the skills, knowledge and experience of people who had been working for many years and had acquired a large wealth of experience which had not been accredited.  Therefore it is possible for an individual to register with us solely for the purposes of undertaking assessments in order to demonstrate the required skills, knowledge and experience.  The minimum time possible in which to complete the building of evidence criteria is 10 weeks, but 1-year working at it on a part-time basis is more typical.

However, we find that the vast majority of people need to develop their skills to the standard of NVQ Level 6 and so we provide a preparation course.  This course is entitled Level 6 Skills & Knowledge Development and is normally delivered over the academic year.

It should be noted that NVQs are flexible and candidates are not restricted to the academic year.  One to one sessions in person or on-line may be booked throughout the year.  Each candidate is assessed prior to registering to ensure that an appropriate personal learning plan is agreed.  On average, studying part-time, candidates typically complete the Skills & Knowledge Development in year 1, and year 2 focuses on bulding Evidence Samples.

Course Duration

Recommended Guided Learning Hours (GLH) are

  • L-UNIT - Receptive Skills
  • GLH 90, Self Directed Study 90 =180;
  • S-UNIT - Productive Skills
  • GLH 90, Self Directed Study 90 = 180;
  • TOTAL no. of hours 360.
  • See Course Schedules and Fees for detailed information on timetabling. 

    Level 3 Course ISL Video Information in ISL


    To be awarded the Level 6 NVQ in Irish Sign Language the candidate must achieve both the receptive (L601) unit and the productive (S602) unit.  A portfolio of evidence is required to gain the award.  The candidate must demonstrate communication ability across a range of use from social relating to work, formal contexts, from standard broadcast items, using webcam/video recorded messages and completing self evaluation tasks must be submitted to gain the award.

    The compilation of evidence is done mostly in ISL with some written elements.

    Candidates who may have literacy or English as a second language challenges will be offered support with written English.

    In addition to structured practical language classes, we provide learners with opportunities to study the language in laboratory analysis on computer, role-play in class sessions, debates and discussions. The cultural heritage, key figures in deaf history, storytelling and poetry in sign languages, international deaf organisations, current affairs in the global Deaf community and issues key to Deaf Human Rights such as rights in education, language, and service provision form part of our deaf awareness training programmes.


    It can be difficult for people to meet deaf people if they are new to the Deaf Community.

    We supply deaf language models to assist you with compiling in evidence samples.  The language models participate in role plays, debates, group discussions, and form audiences for presentations.

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    Progression route

    -Level 1 ISL - 9 credits

    -Level 2 ISL - 15 credits

    -Level 3 ISL NVQ - 28 credits

    -Level 6 ISL NVQ - 36 credits - degree - level

    -Level 6 Interpreter Training - degree level

    -Level 6 Translation - degree level - suitable for deaf and hearing interpreter-translators