Norwich City Football Club is delighted to welcome Daniel Jillings as our Community Hero for our match against Leeds United.
Daniel, 12, has been deaf from birth and started campaigning earlier this year 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 Daniel and his family launched a legal challenge to stop delaying introducing a BSL GCSE and 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," he said.
“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."
After the success since launching Daniels campaign, 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.
“I feel so happy and relieved that the Government have reversed their original decision as this means there is a chance now that it may be introduced before I sit my GCSEs. I am very pleased to have got this far as this is something that deaf people have wanted for a long time,” Daniel added.
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.
“Many deaf organisations have campaigned for the law to be changed over many years. 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.”
Please give a big Carrow Road welcome this afternoon to Daniel as he brings out the match ball ahead of our game against Leeds United.
At every Sky Bet Championship home match, Norwich City will invite a deserving community-minded individual(s) to be their ‘Community Hero’ and place the match ball on to a special plinth prior to kick off.
Whether the individual works in the emergency services or the armed forces, is a carer or charity champion, a super fan or a regional sporting hero, the initiative celebrates their contribution to the local community. If there is anyone you think deserves special recognition for their community efforts or personal achievements, please visit the Community Hero page on canaries.co.uk.