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GCSE In British Sign Language May Be Introduced After Deaf LAD's Campaign

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GCSE In British Sign Language May Be Introduced After Deaf LAD's Campaign

At the beginning of July we were introduced to Daniel Jillings, a strong-willed 12-year-old boy who was campaigning for British Sign Language to become a GCSE.

Well, now it looks like he's a step further to achieving his goal because the government has backed down on its decision to delay introducing a GCSE in British Sign Language.

This comes after Daniel's family launched a legal challenge saying that the lack of a GCSE in BSL may be 'discriminatory and unlawful'.

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According to Metro, The Department for Education (DfE) had previously said no new GCSEs would be introduced.

But now the DfE has said that following submissions from the family's lawyers, it will consider making an 'exception' to the rule.

And School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, said: "We will consider any proposals put forward for a GCSE in British Sign Language.

"As we have made clear previously, any new GCSE would need to meet the rigorous standards set by both the Department and Ofqual.

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"If these expectations are met and a British Sign Language GCSE is ready to be introduced, we will then consider whether to make an exception to our general rule that there should be no new GCSEs in this parliament."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Daniel set up a campaign page for his cause on which supporters can pledge money to help with legal costs. He has currently raised over £6,000 ($7,817) from 350 people.

Daniel speaks British Sign Language as his first language, but is prevented from studying a foreign language at GCSE level because of his inability to hear.

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The young LAD says: "In a few years I will be doing my GCSEs but for me and other deaf children who use BSL, there is currently no GCSE in our own language, British Sign Language.

"There are many Foreign language GCSEs available but as a Deaf BSL user, I cannot achieve a GCSE in these because of the speaking and listening exams.

"I feel that it is wrong that Deaf children cannot achieve a GCSE in a signed language instead. My mother has been speaking to lawyers who have advised that the lack of a GCSE in BSL may well be discriminatory and unlawful."

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Daniel's mother, Ann Jillings, 50, told Metro: "We are not asking for any special treatment, all we want is for Daniel and other deaf children across the country to be given the same opportunities as other pupils."

The family from Lowestoft, Suffolk, are currently being represented by Alex Rook from Irwin Mitchell. He said: "We are delighted that the Government has backed down from its original position as, at present, the lack of a BSL GCSE is having a major and unnecessary impact on thousands of children each year.

"It is only right that any qualification should meet rigorous testing criteria set by the Department for Education.

"However, this announcement is a major turning point and hopefully paves the way so children such as Daniel have access to the education they deserve."

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Go on, Daniel LAD.

Featured Image Credit: Crowd Justice/Daniel Jillings

Topics: UK News, Inspirational, Community

Rebecca Shepherd
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