12 year old’s legal campaign to have BSL as a GCSE

In a video to Metro, Daniel Jillings – a deaf 12-year old whose first language is British Sign Language – explained what his campaign was about.

Daniel Jillings has set up his own legal campaign to fight for a GCSE in British Sign Language. The campaign is receiving support through crowdfunding contributions on CrowdJustice.

In a few years, Daniel will be doing his GCSEs. Daniel can’t achieve a GCSE in additional languages such as French and Spanish because of the speaking and listening exams, and he’s not given the option to learn his own language as a GCSE.

His mother has spoken to lawyers, who have advised her that the lack of a GCSE in BSL may be discriminatory and unlawful. The lawyers Irwin Mitchell LLP are representing Daniel’s legal campaign, and have raised the following legal issues:

  • discrimination which contradicts the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998
  • breaches to the public sector’s duty for equality
  • the Secretary of State’s failure to have regard for the welfare of deaf children.

Irwin Michell LLP lawyers consider that the failure to introduce a GCSE in BSL as soon as possible can’t be justified by the government.

The government recently agreed to consider a GCSE in BSL in the future, but this is not a promise and doesn’t say how quickly it will be introduced. The government allegedly want to give schools a period of stability following the recent (and overall unwanted) restructure of GCSEs, which would mean no new GCSEs would be introduced for at least 4 years. This will be too late for Daniel and many other deaf pupils.

Daniel’s crowdfunding campaign aims to cover the initial legal costs to challenge the delay in introducing a GCSE in BSL. Click here to donate to the campaign.