Published On: 28 March 2024Tags: , , , ,

Just one in five children in England believe their views are important to the adults who run the country, while only 10% of teenagers believe they have the power to influence the issues they care about.

These are findings published in a landmark survey of children’s voices, The Big Ambition, this week by the Children’s Commissioner for England. It shows that this generation of children is engaged with the world, full of practical solutions and optimistic for their futures – but they are frustrated and disempowered because their experiences are rarely reflected in policy making.

At the same time, the volume of responses – which, combined with the Commissioner’s 2021 survey The Big Ask, shows how keen children are to resolve the kinds of issues and worries that were previously unique to adults. They want to be asked what they think and their responses listened to, with action taken to affect change.

The report, draws on the insights of the children who responded to The Big Ambition and offers practical, straightforward solutions to overcoming these: from staying safe online and challenging harmful myths around body image, to lessons in how to manage their money and more enriching activities that divert away from crime.

The Race Equality Foundation is particulary pleased that the Commissioner is calling for more support for family hubs, having more public conversations about the challenges of parenting, and crucially, that every parent should have access to parenting courses at key transition points in life, as well as antenatally.

The report also calls for shifts in policies to focus on care rather than custody, to protect childhoods and provide specialist support: an end to the practice of profit-making from children’s homes, raising the age of criminal responsibility and pushing police forces to direct young offenders towards positive activities that divert them from crime or exploitation.

It also recommends that children with mental health or special educational needs get the right support within one school term and that every child should receive an annual health check from a school nurse.

Read the research here, and the findings and solutions here.

Find out more about The Big Ambition here.