Deaf pupil earns place at top university despite school language barrier

Calum Medlock
Calum Medlock
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A Deaf pupil has earned a place at a leading university after overcoming a major language barrier at the school he attended.

Calum Medlock of The Paddock, Market Deeping, achieved an incredible A* in maths, A* in further maths and an A in physics and will now attend University College London after finding out his results today.

The 19-year-old cannot lip read - and his school did not teach in British Sign Language - yet he still managed to make the necessary grades to get on the course, and he plans to celebrate this evening in true student fashion with a large Domino’s Pizza.

Calum said: “I was very surprised to get an A in physics which was really hard - I didn’t expect to get an A in that at all.

“I’m looking forward to the future, not just for me but for other Deaf students too.

“I’m having a big Domino’s Pizza to celebrate my results!”

Calum first hit the headlines a decade ago when he convinced Showcase Cinemas to start showing subtitled films for the first time after a three-year campaign with his mum Jill.

Now 10 years on, mum and son were in Calum’s bedroom to find out through the UCAS tracking system that he had been accepted at UCL.

Jill said: “At eight o’clock it said ‘congratulations, you’re in UCL’. We were just screaming and jumping around the room.

“I feel very emotional. I’m just so proud.”

Calum, who was born deaf and can only speak a little, attended Jack Hunt School in Netherton, Peterborough, for his GCSEs before moving to Mary Hare School in Newbury, a specialist school for deaf people. The move which was funded by Lincolnshire County Council.

Although the school does not teach British Sign Language Calum had one-on-one tuition for further maths and teachers wrote on a smart board in physics classes.

Things will be different at UCL, though, which is funding an interpreter for Calum.

Jill added: “I’m so proud about his attitude. He feels he has done it and now he wants to help other deaf children feel the same. He dreams of becoming a maths teacher.

“For too long too many people have thought unless you can speak and lip read you can’t be that bright.

“Calum has proven you can be a British Sign Language user and be as good as any of them. He has broken through a concrete ceiling.”