North East MP backs GCSE in British Sign Language

A North East MP has called for the Department for Education to introduce a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL).

The Labour MP for Gateshead, Ian Mearns – who is also chair of the Backbench Business Committee – brought attention to the plight of deaf children in the education system in Parliament.

During the ‘Business of the House’ debate in the House of Commons on the September 6, 2018, Mr Mearns said: “It is interesting that children and adults who use British Sign Language do not yet have the facility of having a GCSE examination in their own main form of communication.

“The whole House should take that on board and try to get the Department for Education to introduce a GCSE in BSL for deaf people.”

In response, Andrea Leadsom, The Leader of the House of Commons, said: “On the debate the hon. Gentleman has scheduled for deaf children, I am sure many Members will have examples in their own constituencies and will want to speak more about what we can do to facilitate ease of communication for deaf children.”

Mr Mearns is currently the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee which brings business before the house approximately one day each week – on behalf of all backbench MPs.

The Backbench Business Committee will be allocating time to debate a number of issues on the 9th October in the Commons.



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