Spare a thought for the children

21st November 2003 at 00:00
A cameraman and photographer lurked on the steps of Congress House in London's West End.

In the ladies' toilets, delegates at a conference entitled "Children: Do They Count?" there were dark mutterings about the Hodge affair. "I hope there's not a journalist in the next cubicle," said one to the other.

But Margaret Hodge, one of the conference's key speakers, did not look like a minister facing the guillotine over alleged mishandling of child abuse in Islington when she was leader of the north London council.

She bemoaned the "heightism" of conference centres, with their towering speakers' lecturns, before apologising from the chairman's table for arriving late and having to leave early (government legislation "ping ponging" between the Commons and the Lords).

Mrs Hodge cited the creation of a children's minister as a key government achievement, without reference to the media storm surrounding her tenure of the post.

And she managed a shot back, criticising society's attitudes towards children and its reflection in media portrayals - from ne'er-do-well Martin Fowler in EastEnders to The Sun's "shop a yob" campaign.

"The actuality is nearly nine out of 10 13 to 19-year-olds are engaged in some kind of voluntary activity in their local communities," she said.

"As a country and a nation, the British culture has not been very good to children."

Or to the children's minister, she might have added.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now