Henry Hepburn

Pupil voice isn’t blether, but old habits die hard

The outgoing children’s commissioner wants secondaries to hand more powers to students

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Schools will never “get” children’s rights because the very idea makes them feel “threatened”. That’s what Tam Baillie, Scotland’s outgoing children’s commissioner, was told time and again when he first started in the role. And not by pub bores or anonymous internet trolls. People who worked with children – whether in social work or in other children’s services – often regarded schools, rightly or wrongly, as hierarchical little fiefdoms where children were largely expected to keep schtum, he says.

This was 2009, not 1909. Baillie had just taken over as commissioner. He wanted to help ...

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