Published date : 22 Nov 2019

Town’s MSP organises for 10 year old to meet with Education Secretary in Scottish Parliament

Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP, Jenny Gilruth, has facilitated a meeting between her young constituent, Niamdh Braid, and the Scottish Government’s Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, to discuss her campaign to secure free British Sign Language (BSL) tuition for deaf children from the age of five.

Niamdh Braid, a 10-year-old deaf school girl from Glenrothes, earned the opportunity to meet Scottish musician, Lewis Capaldi, earlier this year and performed a BSL version of his hit song ‘Someone You Loved’ with him at this summer’s Belladrum Festival.
The opportunity for Niamdh, who believes hearing loss is not a barrier to enjoying music, to perform with Lewis came after the schoolgirl recorded a video, which has since gone viral, of her si
gning the song with the hopes of gaining a chance to perform with and meet the singer.
Ms Gilruth highlighted Niamdh’s success at Belladrum by lodging a Motion in the Scottish Parliament before meeting with Niamdh, her mum, Sam, and younger brother, Billy, to talk about the experience.
Niamdh, who is self-taught in BSL, is running a campaign to allow for free British Sign Language tuition for deaf children from the age of five and advised Jenny that she would currently have to pay a fee in order to access formal classes.
Ms Gilruth then wrote to the Scottish Government’s Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, to invite him to meet with Niamdh to discuss her campaign in more detail.
Speaking after she and Niamdh met with Mr Swinney in the Scottish Parliament, Jenny Gilruth MSP said:

“Niamdh’s passion for change is profound and I am delighted that the Education Secretary agreed to meet with us to discuss her campaign in more detail. I am confident that the Scottish Government, having heard Niamdh’s compelling case, will now look at ways to deliver British Sign Language tuition for young people in Fife and across Scotland.”

Niamdh Braid said:

“I am so happy that Mr Swinney took the time to talk to me about my campaign. I’m grateful to my local MSP, Jenny Gilruth, for supporting me and I hope free BSL tuition is something that can be done in Scotland. I taught myself BSL but I think it’s important that support is freely available for children who need it.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, said:

“‘I was delighted to meet with Niamdh and to learn more about her campaign. The arguments she made surrounding BSL provision were compelling and I will now seek to advance the issues she discussed with me with the Children and Young People Minister, my colleague Maree Todd MSP. 

Scotland’s education system should be accessible to all young people and it is important that Local Authorities seek to support pupils in mainstream appropriately. I’d like to thank Niamdh and her family for meeting with me today – it is vitally important the Government hears from the voices of young people in all the work that we do. I will certainly consider the issues surrounding the provision of BSL in the mainstream raised by Niamdh and how best the Government can support local authorities in its delivery".



  • The meeting took place on Thursday 21 November 2019.
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