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12 November, 2008

New Duty for Schools to Consider Children and Young Peoples Views

On Tuesday, 11 November, ‘considering the views of children and young people’ became a legal duty for all maintained state schools in England and Wales.

The Citizenship Foundation, and the wider Citizenship Education community, welcome the announcement of this new provision to 2002's Education Act and congratulate all of those who have campaigned for this change over many years, including individual parliamentarians and organisations such as the Children's Rights Alliance for England.

The Citizenship Foundation's Chief Executive, Tony Breslin, commented:

‘The wider inclusion that flows from engaging, involving and consulting students in real decision-making about their education not only helps to prepare young people to play their full part in democracy, it is also likely to build and to broaden levels of achievement and attainment.

The new duty is, furthermore, an opportunity to make the concept of the ‘Citizenship-rich' school a reality in a much wider range of settings and, as we have argued for some years now, the ‘Citizenship-rich' school is a very different kind of place in which to teach and learn.'

The Citizenship Foundation recognises this provision as a real opportunity for schools to think creatively and imaginatively about the full range of ways in which they might engage with young people. In our own work we have seen the incredible capacity of young people to contribute positively to the well-being and functioning of their schools. Youth Act campaigns such as Anti-Bullying Massif and Skinners' Company's School for Girls' redesigning of the school uniform are student-led initiatives that have changed schools for the better and we urge educators to draw from these examples, examples that go beyond merely considering students' views to their purposeful involvement in decision-making.

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