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Deaf boy's family to take Government to court over sign language GCSE

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 July 2018

Daniel Jillings in front of the Palace of Westminster. Picture: Ann Jillings

Daniel Jillings in front of the Palace of Westminster. Picture: Ann Jillings

Archant

A profoundly deaf boy's family have launched a campaign to take the government to court over a "discriminatory" decision to delay the introduction of a sign language GSCE.

Daniel Jillings visited Westminster to meet the Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb, earlier in the year after an invitation from Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

The 12-year-old boy from Lowestoft, who attends Bungay High School, has already raised more than £4,000 to cover the initial legal costs for the case.

Daniel uses British Sign Language (BSL) as his first language and has aspirations to become the first deaf prime minister.

The argument which will be put forward by the family’s lawyers will be that the lack of British Sign Language GSCE breaches Daniel’s right to education, is discriminatory, and is a breach of his rights under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008.

Ann Jillings, Daniel’s mum and chairman of the Waveney Deaf Children’s Society, said: “The introduction of a BSL GCSE could have a huge impact on so many lives and we simply believe that is far more important than the idea that schools need a ‘period of stability’.

“The Government’s stance on the issue is denying deaf children across the country the same opportunities as other school pupils and that simply cannot be right.

She added: “Ministers have said the GCSE could be a possibility in the future but that at this point that just feels like lip service.

“We not only want reassurances that this will happen, but also some indication that action will be taken to address the matter once and for all.

“It feels like we have been left with no choice but to take this route and we would appreciate any support as we push on.”

Mr Aldous, who has campaigned alongside the Jillings family on this issue, said: “Overall, campaigners, MPs like myself, who have campaigned for this, recognise these campaigns can take a lot of time.

“I think if in four years time there is a GCSE, we would consider that a great success.

“However, at Daniel’s age, that is no good at all as he only gets one chance at an education. In that context I can fully understand why they have taken this decision.”

You can donate to the fund to help the Jillings family with legal costs by going to https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/gcsebsl/

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