Deaf boy, 12, fights for sign language to be made a GCSE subject

Daniel wants British Sign Language to be a GSCE subject. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A family from Lowestoft has launched a campaign to help introduce a GCSE in British Sign Language.

Daniel Jillings, 12, has been deaf from birth and uses sign language as his main means of communication, but currently there is no GCSE qualification in the language.

His family say the stance is discriminatory and are launching a legal battle to try and change the situation.

"BSL is a recognised language, it was recognised 15 years ago. I feel it's fair that it should be included in the languages," Daniel told ITV News Anglia.

"It means deaf children can achieve more in the future and I just think it's important that we have equality really."

Daniel and his family have visited the Department of Education, but have been told it won't happen in this Parliament - meaning it would be another four years until it's even considered.

"We are not opposed to the introduction of a British Sign Language GCSE," a Department of Education spokesperson said.

"Any new GCSE would need to meet the rigorous expectations for content, set by the Department for Education, and expectations for assessment and regulatory requirements set by Ofqual."

Daniel's family have raised enough money to begin a legal campaign, and lawyers agree that there's no reason for the government to delay introducing the qualification.

"Sign language is Daniel's first language so in the same way that someone could do a GCSE in English, or in French or German - you can't do it in sign language and that's his first language," said public law expert Alex Rook.

"We say that's discriminatory because it unlawfully bridges his rights to an education."