A GCSE in BSL to be developed and introduced without delay

by Daniel Jillings

A GCSE in BSL to be developed and introduced without delay

by Daniel Jillings
Daniel Jillings
Case owner
I am Daniel, I'm 12 years old and I am Deaf. My first language is BSL and I want the chance to do this as a GCSE subject when I take my other exams. Delaying a GCSE is unfair to children who are Deaf.
Funded
on 22nd June 2018
£6,155
pledged of £6,000 stretch target from 351 pledges
Daniel Jillings
Case owner
I am Daniel, I'm 12 years old and I am Deaf. My first language is BSL and I want the chance to do this as a GCSE subject when I take my other exams. Delaying a GCSE is unfair to children who are Deaf.

Latest: Dec. 8, 2018

Unused funds

Because of the amazing generosity of backers, we exceeded the fundraising target for this case and now that all legal costs have been settled, our solicitor has confirmed that there are some unused...

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Who am I and why do I need your help?

I am Daniel Jillings aged 12. I am Deaf and use British Sign Language as my first language. In a few years I will be doing my GCSEs but for me and other deaf children who use BSL, there is currently no GCSE in our own language, British Sign Language. There are many Foreign language GCSEs available but as a Deaf BSL user, I cannot achieve a GCSE in these because of the speaking and listening exams. I feel that it is wrong that Deaf children cannot achieve a GCSE in a signed language instead. My mother has been speaking to lawyers who have advised that the lack of a GCSE in BSL may well be discriminatory and unlawful. Legal issues they have raised include discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998, breach of the ‘public sector equality duty’ and failure by the Secretary of State to have regard to the welfare of deaf children. The lawyers consider that the failure to agree to introduce a new GCSE in BSL as quickly as possible is disproportionate and therefore cannot be justified by the government. 

What is the issue?

The government have recently agreed to consider a BSL GCSE for introduction in the future, which is a positive step forward. 

However, this is not a definite promise to introduce one and they have not said how soon it will be introduced. They have said that to give schools a period of stability, there will be no new GCSEs in this Parliament. This means that a GCSE in BSL is at least 4 years away, which is too late for me and other Deaf children. I feel it is unfair that they have put stability before equality.

Why am I Crowdfunding?

I want to raise enough money to cover the initial legal costs of challenging the delay on introducing a GCSE in BSL under the grounds mentioned above, as the delay is unfair to Deaf children and is denying them the same opportunities as children who use other languages such as Welsh. Indeed the Government have not yet even promised that a GCSE in BSL will be introduced at all, never mind in time for me to take it alongside my other GCSEs.

What do I want to achieve?

I want the government to promise that they will work with awarding organisations to develop a new GCSE qualification in BSL as quickly as possible and that they will introduce it as soon as it is ready. I want the government to agree that putting in place a new GCSE in BSL is more important than any ‘period of stability’ for schools. 

What impact will this have?

If the claim succeeds this will have a huge impact on Deaf children who will be able to achieve a GCSE in their first language, as GCSEs are widely recognised by employers and colleges.  

This will also give the opportunity for hearing children to learn BSL in school, so they can communicate with deaf people both in school and adult life. In the longer term, this could encourage many more people to pursue a career in BSL interpreting, which will further benefit the Deaf community.


 

 

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Update 4

Daniel Jillings

Dec. 8, 2018

Unused funds

Because of the amazing generosity of backers, we exceeded the fundraising target for this case and now that all legal costs have been settled, our solicitor has confirmed that there are some unused funds. 

In line with CrowdJustice policy, these have been returned to CrowdJustice where they can either be donated to another case on CrowdJustice (which advances a similar cause) or donated to the Access to Justice Foundation. 

We have therefore asked Crowd Justice to donate any unused funds to the case below, set up by 3 deaf mothers who are fighting to help change UK public entertainment for the better, to ensure that deaf people have the chance to access live music and entertainment. 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/accessibility-for-all/

We feel this case is advancing a similar cause by promoting the rights of BSL users. The BSL GCSE case was backed by many who sought to promote the status of BSL and give equality to BSL users, and we hope that the transfer of funds to this case will help them to reinforce the rights of BSL users under the Equality Act. 

Thank you for your support.


Update 3

Daniel Jillings

Dec. 8, 2018

A Proposal for the BSL GCSE has been submitted.

On Monday 19th November 2018, Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education publically announced that both the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual are separately reviewing a proposal from Signature, in regard to a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL). This was announced at the Hearing Loss: 100 Years of Adult Education at City Lit parliamentary event in London.

   Following the announcement, Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP released a tweet stating:

   ‘The significance of BSL - the language of an estimated 70k deaf people in the UK - cannot be underestimated. I was pleased to confirm that DfE & Ofqual are in the process of reviewing a proposal for a BSL GCSE’

Although this is very much an early stage in a long process, this is positive news and would not have been possible without your support for this case. Thank you.

Update 2

Daniel Jillings

Aug. 2, 2018

BSL GCSE could be introduced this Parliament!

Update on A GCSE in BSL to be developed and introduced without delay

Thank you to all our backers, we are very pleased to let you know that we have received the response from the Department of Education and that the Government has backed down on its decision to delay the introduction of a GCSE in British Sign Language due to this campaign.

 As you know we launched this legal campaign after the Department for Education said that no new GCSEs would be introduced during this parliament. 

 However, following submission from the  legal team at Irwin Mitchell, the Government has now reversed that decision and said it will consider making ‘an exception’ to its rule and look into introducing a BSL GCSE during this parliament.   

In its response to the  legal team at Irwin Mitchell, the Government said if proposals for a BSL GCSE met its accreditation criteria then Education Secretary, Damian Hinds MP, would “consider whether to make an exception to his general policy of not introducing new GCSEs in the interests of stability for school and teachers, in respect of BSL only.”

 Mr Hinds “looks forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to promote the integration and achievement of deaf pupils,” the letter adds.

 

Update 1

Daniel Jillings

July 6, 2018

We have reached our stretch target!

Daniel and his family have been overwhelmed by the support and the fantastic news that the stretch target has been met. They have decided to increase the target to £6,000 to enable them to take this legal challenge the whole way and cover as many of the legal costs as possible. Any left over funds will go to other similar legal cases to support young deaf people or donated to the Access to Justice Foundation.

 

Thanks again for your support and please continue to share the page with your friends and family and online.  

 

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