British Sign Language: GCSE plan after boy’s campaign

The government reversed its decision to delay any new qualifications after Daniel Jillings, 12, and his family, from Suffolk, campaigned for one to be available in time for his GCSEs.

Their lawyers argued the lack of a BSL GCSE might be “discriminatory and unlawful”, as it is his first language.

Ministers may now make an “exception”.

The government had previously stated no new GCSEs would be introduced in this parliament.

In March, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb argued not everything needed to be taught at GCSE, adding: “We value British Sign Language, however a huge number of steps would have to be gone through for the BSL qualification to be accredited as a GCSE.”

An online crowdfunding page set up to help pay for the family’s legal challenge to the government ruling raised more than £6,000.

Daniel’s mother, Ann Jillings, from Lowestoft, said: “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.”

On Wednesday, Mr Gibb said: “We will consider any proposals put forward for a GCSE in British Sign Language.”

However, he stressed it would “need to meet the rigorous standards set by both the department and Ofqual”.


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