Deaf boy, 12, fights for his right to take GCSE in sign language

Deaf boy, 12, fights for his right to take GCSE in sign language and is set to sue government for discrimination

  • Daniel Jillings is set to sue because he cannot sit a GCSE in sign language
  • The deaf 12-year-old will sue the government for discrimination

Daniel Jillings is set to sue because he cannot sit a GCSE in sign language

A boy who is deaf is to sue for discrimination because he cannot sit a GCSE in sign language.

Daniel Jillings and his mother Ann want British Sign Language to be taught in schools and say the Government’s refusal to offer an exam is ‘discriminatory and unlawful’. 

Pupils aged 11 to 14 are obliged to learn a foreign language but Daniel, pictured, who goes to Bungay High School, Suffolk, cannot study one at GCSE as he cannot complete a listening and speaking test.

Mrs Jillings, 50, of Lowestoft, said it was ‘denying deaf children the same opportunities as other school pupils’. The Department for Education said talks about a signing exam were already under way.

A spokeman added: ‘We are not opposed to the introduction of a British Sign Language GCSE.’ BSL is recognised as a language and used by about 70,000 Britons. 


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The deaf 12-year-old and his mother Ann want British Sign Language to be taught in schools and say the Government’s refusal to offer an exam is ‘discriminatory and unlawful’

Daniel said: ‘I feel that it is wrong that deaf children cannot achieve a GCSE in a signed language.

‘My mother has been speaking to lawyers who have advised that the lack of a GCSE in BSL may well be discriminatory and unlawful.’

Previously the government agreed to consider a sign language GCSE but say that there is no plans to do it in the next four years.

This means Daniel, who attends Bungay High School in Suffolk, and other deaf children of a similar age will miss a chance to gain a qualification in their first language.

Modern foreign languages are compulsory in key stage three and four – between the ages of 11 and 14. Most schools offer French, German and Spanish.

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