School receives national award nomination for work with deaf pupil

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

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

A Suffolk high school has been nominated for a national award after fully embracing having a deaf pupil who uses British Sign Language (BSL).

Bungay High School has been shortlisted for the Enriching Education Award at this year’s Signature Annual Awards.

Since 12-year-old Daniel Jillings entered Year 7 last year the school has launched a Signing Club and choir to raise awareness and get other pupils on board with learning basic BSL.

Daniel, from Lowestoft, has garnered national attention in his battle with the government to introduce a BSL GCSE.

His mother, Ann Jillings, praised the constant support the school has provided her son since he enrolled.

She said: “They have gone over and above what we thought any high school would do.

“I can’t praise them enough – I think they have been absolutely fantastic.”

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Mrs Jillings said teachers at the school have “bent over backwards” to help her son settle in.

She added: “There is a teacher of the deaf based on site – that specialist expertise is very important for the progress of deaf pupils.

“As a parent it gives huge peace of mind knowing he has support at school.”

The efforts made by the school have resulted in an ideal learning environment for Daniel.

Mrs Jillings said: “I think inclusion is so important at school – imagine how lonely it could be being the only person in the entire school speaking your language.

“He has absolutely loved it; there hasn’t been a single day where he doesn’t want to go to school.

“The attitude they have of embracing it is great – it is seen as something they can develop as part of the school community.”

Signature is a national charity and awarding body which campaigns to improve the standards of communication of deaf and blind people in the UK.

Its annual awards work to recognise those who are going above and beyond to improve access for deaf people.

A charity spokesman said: “We are passionate about improving communication between deaf, deafblind and hearing people, and creating better communities in the process.

For more information about the awards visit