A young boy called Daniel (12) has been campaigning to take a new GCSE in the future. Daniel is deaf and wants to help other deaf children have equal education opportunities. Daniel has been campaigning for the change to be made so he can sit a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) when he is older. His crowdfunding page, which has raised more than £6,000 towards a legal challenge, says that delaying a GCSE in BSL is “unfair to children who are deaf.” Children like Daniel will not be able to pass additional language GCSEs because of the speaking and listening component, which is why he is determined undertake a GCSE in BSL.

According to the National Deaf Children’s Society, there are more than 45,000 deaf children living in the UK.  This is a large group of children that needs additional support in schools yet, “research suggests that more than 77% of school-aged deaf children in the UK attend mainstream schools where is no specialist provision and in which they may be the only deaf child enrolled.” Having the opportunity to have a BSL GCSE could make a significant difference to that 77% who aren’t getting specialist provision.

Thanks to Daniel’s and others’ continuous campaigning, “The Department for Education (DfE) has now said that following submissions from the family’s lawyers it will consider making an ‘exception’ to the rule.”  Although, this is only a starting point, it is very positive news for Daniel’s family and other deaf children and their families. Alex Rook (public law expert) explains, “This announcement is a major turning point and hopefully paves the way so children such as Daniel have the education they deserve.”

According to Eleanor Busby, “35,000 people signed a petition calling for the subject to be taught in schools,” which is what sparked a debate in the Commons earlier this year. Even if the government chooses not to make an exception, this is an achievement Daniel can be proud of.

Further Reading

National Deaf Children’s Society

GCSE in British Sign Language may be introduced after deaf boy’s campaign, Eleanor Busby, 02/08/18

Government open to new GCSE in British Sign Language following campaign, Eleanor Busby 31/05/18

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