When one determined 12-year-old boy set his mind on sitting a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL), it seemed as if there would be a long hard road to travel before he achieved his goal. With a government moratorium on creating any more changes to GCSE examinations, it appeared unlikely that the challenge of introducing a completely new subject to the existing suite of GCSE qualification in languages would be taken forward. But Daniel Jillings was undeterred.
There is now better news for all those hearing and deaf pupils in school, who would like the opportunity of learning BSL and of gaining a GCSE qualification. Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards has announced that the government is keen to see the development of GCSE in BSL, and plans are now underway, working with subject experts, to develop draft subject content for the new examination. There are still many steps to travel, and it is intended that there will be widespread consultation in 2020. But there may still be time for the new examination to be in place for Daniel and many others, eagerly awaiting the first GCSE in BSL.