Petition deaf student helped to launch closes on 50,000 signatures

Daniel Jillings, who has helped launch a petition to improve deaf awareness training for teaching

Daniel Jillings, who has helped launch a petition to improve deaf awareness training for teaching - Credit: Ann Jillings

A petition calling for teachers to be given deaf awareness training which a Bungay High School pupil helped to launch is closing in on 50,000 signatures.

Sixteen-year-old Daniel Jillings, from Earsham, has been completely deaf since birth and has become a staunch campaigner for equal opportunities for people with hearing impairments.

And as a member of the youth advisory board of the National Deaf Children's Association he has helped to launch a petition calling for compulsory deaf awareness training to be given to school teachers nationally.

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

Daniel Jillings, pictured in 2018 outside the Palace of Westminster - Credit: Archant

It comes after research conducted by the charity found that more than two-thirds of teachers admitted they would not know how to teach a deaf child - while nine out of 10 felt their training had not aptly prepared them for the possibility of teaching a deaf child.

While Daniel has been once of the lucky pupils that throughout his career has been able to access specialist support - others are not afforded the privilege.

The petition, which Daniel helped set up, has now been signed by more than 48,000 people, closing in on the 50,000 landmark which would see it one of the most signed on Change.org.

Daniel Jillings with his mum Ann and Varley the dog, with the overall Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney

Ann and Daniel Jillings, pictured at the Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards in 2018, when he was named overall winner - Credit: Mick Howes

Ann Jillings, Daniel's mother, who is chairman of the Waveney Deaf Children's Society, said: "We have been very fortunate in that he was identified as being deaf within a few weeks of being born so we straight away knew what he needed.

"He has always had great support in schools - although we did have to fight at times for it - but others haven't been as fortunate, lots of young people report that there's not much support out there.

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"Every child should have the right to education and the support they need to achieve their best."

Daniel and Ann Jillings, who campaign for better education for deaf children

Daniel and Ann Jillings, who campaign for better education for deaf children - Credit: Ann Jillings

With the government currently consulting on a review into education provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities, Mrs Jillings is calling for deafness to be taken into closer consideration as part of this.

She said: "Deaf children like mine rely on support from a Teacher of the Deaf, but one in six have been cut in the past decade and there’s no mention of restoring their numbers.

"Until they get the right support, our deaf children will keep achieving less than hearing children at every stage of school."