...and on really taking children seriously!
My heart skipped a beat (in a good way) when I read this:
"What improvements can you suggest? My thoughts include:
Making it totally clear in guidance that sending a child back to school is not ever an acceptable outcome if against the child’s wishes".
Finally, finally, finally we have someone in a position of influence who actually understands that giving children a right to be heard and to have their opinions given due weight, doesn't just mean ignoring them when it suits your purposes.
It is the case that the government similarly claims to respect the voice of the child and yet, unlike Lord Lucas, they almost never do any such thing. If they did actually listen and take the views of children seriously, there wouldn't be tens of thousands of school children who would far rather be educated out of school. The government's position on children's rights is pure window-dressing and they should be called to account on it.
It is reasonable to hope that the courts will understand, just as Lord Lucas has done - that children are quite capable of making informed decisions about many areas of their lives and that since the government has chosen to give children the right to have their informed views taken seriously, then it behoves adults to stick to their promises and honor that right.
This will all come to a head should Badman's recommendations be implemented. In a recent poll, some 77% of HE children said that they didn't want to meet with LA personnel. This is not an irrational decision. The LA official barely knows them since they only meet once a year, will not be able to make any sort of constructive judgment on their education, will not offer children anything of value, will in the process invade their privacy, infringe their property rights and eradicate their right to freedom of association. All in all, the official will be failing in their duty to promote the welfare of children, as is required under section 175 of the Education Act 2002.
Children might be needing to find themselves some solicitors, methinks.