Listen to the children

31st August 2001 at 01:00
Your article on responses to the Green Paper (TES, August 17) misses an important point on the range of responses.

Although this document clearly concerns children and their education, the Government's consultation process did not involve children, the main "consumers" of education. At Save the Children, we felt that this was a serious enough omission to want to rectify it by asking a small sample of children about their views on the Green Paper, and demonstrating that this can be done even with the youngest pupils.

The principle of consulting children on matters affecting them has yet to be accepted fully, although the Department for Education and Skills has been supportive of our consultation. The lack of children's views being sought generally is reflected throughout education. Children are at the heart of education and spend at least 10 years in formal education, yet are not routinely consulted about decisions that affect them. The UK government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, yet nearly 10 years on, article 12, a child's right to have his or her views listened to, is not being implemented in education.

We support citizenship in the curriculum but would urge the Government to go further and involve children in their own learning by consulting them much more often. Scotland has already taken a step towards this in deciding that schools must consult pupils on their development plans, and by allowing pupils to appeal against their own exclusion.

John Errington Programme director Save the Children England Second floor 1 Eastgate, Leeds

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