A DEAF teenager from Northfield is launching a nationwide campaign for British Sign Language (BSL) to be taught in schools.
Braidon Bevington travelled to London to officially launch the ‘Right to Sign’ campaign with the National Deaf Children’s Society and mark the start of Deaf Awareness Week (15 to 21 May).
The 13-year-old helped design a survey of 2,000 deaf and hearing young people across the UK which found 97 per cent think BSL should be taught in schools and 92 per cent want it to be offered as a GCSE.
Creating the survey as part of his role on the Young People’s Advisory Board for the National Deaf Children’s Society, Braidon joined the Board in 2015 when he and the other 15 members agreed lack of access to BSL was a key concern.
Braidon said: “When people learn French and Spanish in school, all you do is basically write it in a book, doing the same thing all day. I think BSL should be an option because it is more active and more interesting for people.
“Everyone has a right to communicate. If we all got the chance to learn BSL it would stop confusion and misunderstanding between deaf and hearing people, because they would be able to speak to each other properly.”
BSL is not on the national curriculum, there’s no option to study it as a GCSE and private lessons are expensive.
The survey findings show this is not just a deaf issue, respondents with no hearing impairment actually showed more interest in learning BSL than deaf respondents.
Susan Daniels, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, added: “If we are to break down barriers to learning BSL, it must be on the national curriculum.
“This survey shows that children and young people really want to learn BSL, so we urge the Department for Education to respond to this demand.”
Braidon is asking anyone who supports him to sign a petition so that he can go to the Department for Education and ask them to put BSL on the national curriculum.
Visit buzz.org.uk/righttosign to support Braidon and the Right to Sign campaign.
*What do you think? Should British Sign Language be taught in schools? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your views.