Crowdfunding Campaign Raises £4,000 To Help Fund Case
The family of a deaf boy from Suffolk has launched a campaign to challenge the Government’s ‘discriminatory’ decision to delay the introduction of a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) and is calling for support as it looks to get a legal battle underway.
Daniel Jillings, 12, from Lowestoft, uses BSL as his first language but is concerned that – while there are GCSEs in foreign languages – there is no qualification in place related to signing when he takes his exams in a few years’ time.
With the Government offering only to ‘consider a proposal’ after an unspecified “period of stability” Daniel’s family consulted with specialist public lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who believe the lack of such a qualification could ultimate be discriminatory and unlawful.
Now the family is set to launch a legal battle to argue its case after a crowdfunding page raised more than £4,000 to help with the costs of taking the challenge forward.
Expert OpinionThe Government has on several occasions said its current policy is to offer a period of stability to schools following other changes and therefore no new GCSE’s are being introduced at this time.
“However, we feel that the delay and ultimate failure to introduce a BSL qualification amounts to a breach of a number of legal duties and that this issue requires urgent attention.
“It is simply not right that thousands of deaf children across the UK are unable to achieve a GCSE in their first language.” Alex Rook - Partner
Irwin Mitchell consider that the failure to have a GCSE in BSL breaches Daniel’s right to education, is discriminatory and is a breach of his rights under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008.
Daniel’s mother Ann Jillings, 50, added: “The introduction of a BSL GCSE could have a huge impact on so many lives and we simply believe that is far more important than the idea that schools need a ‘period of stability’.
“The Government’s stance on the issue is denying deaf children across the country the same opportunities as other school pupils and that simply cannot be right. Ministers have said the GCSE could be a possibility in the future but that at this point that just feels like lip service.
“We not only want reassurances that this will happen, but also some indication that action will be taken to address the matter once and for all. It feels like we have been left with no choice but to take this route and we would appreciate any support as we push on.”
For more information regarding the case or to pledge your support to the campaign, visit the CrowdJustice page for Daniel’s campaign.
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling education law cases.