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Boy who campaigned for sign language GCSE chosen as Norwich City Football Club’s Community Hero for Leeds match

PUBLISHED: 11:24 25 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:24 25 August 2018

Daniel Jillings in front of the Palace of Westminster. Picture: Ann Jillings

Daniel Jillings in front of the Palace of Westminster. Picture: Ann Jillings

Archant

A student who campaigned for a new GCSE has been named as Norwich City’s community hero ahead of this afternoon’s game against Leeds United.

Daniel Jillings. Picture: Ann JillingsDaniel Jillings. Picture: Ann Jillings

Daniel Jillings, 12, from Lowestoft, has been deaf from birth. Earlier this year he started a campaign for a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) to be introduced in the UK.

The Department for Education previously said no new GCSEs would be introduced in this parliament so the Bungay High School student and his family launched a legal challenge to stop the delay in introducing a BSL GCSE. They raised over £6,000 to help cover the legal costs.

“It is very important to me for BSL to be introduced because I can achieve a qualification that will help me in the future and it will also encourage more hearing children to learn BSL which will make it so much better for us to communicate in everyday life,” said Daniel.

“I think it will be a huge change for deaf people; our language will be properly recognised and taught to both deaf and hearing children. Some people may want to study BSL more and maybe work as interpreters or teachers of the deaf in the future. Most deaf children have hearing parents so making it easier for everyone to learn BSL is very important.”

Daniel Jillings. Picture: Ann JillingsDaniel Jillings. Picture: Ann Jillings

Since the campaign was launched, the government has recently backed down on its decision to delay the introduction of a GCSE in British Sign Language by making ‘an exception’ to its rule during this parliament.

Ann Jillings, Daniel’s mum, said: “I am incredibly proud of Daniel, he has shown real passion for his language and deaf culture and he has presented his case very confidently and eloquently throughout every interview. He has shown that deaf people can achieve whatever they set their minds to and that BSL deserves the same recognition as any spoken language.

“BSL was recognised as an official British language in 2003 yet little has progressed in the 15 years since. It is time for deaf children to be able to achieve a GCSE that demonstrates their skills in what for many is their first language.”

You can nominate people who you feel deserve recognition for their community efforts or achievements, on the Community Hero page at www.canaries.co.uk.

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