Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Universal Children’s Day
With many countries around the world celebrating Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, Ofsted explains how the Children's Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan, is ensuring that some of our most vulnerable children and young people are being given a voice.
The Day aims to encourage understanding between children and to promote children's welfare and rights. The date also marks the anniversary of when the United Nations Assembly adopted two documents centred on children's rights: the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.
Based at Ofsted, Dr Morgan and his team regularly ask children and young people living away from home or in care about how they are looked after in children’s homes, boarding schools, residential special schools, further education colleges or residential family centres. His duties also cover children and young people in foster care or placed for adoption, those who have left care, and all children who are getting help from social services. The team also helps individual children by taking up their cases when they are concerned about their rights or welfare.
Dr Morgan uses the research on children’s views to raise any issues he thinks the government should consider when it is making decisions that affect children and young people. He also provides advice to Ofsted that helps make sure our inspection and regulation protects and promotes children and young people’s life chances.
Children and young people’s views on issues such as staffing, prejudice and care standards are published as regular reports. A recent report, 100 days of care, published on 15 November, documents 100 diary entries of 23 children and young people, describing things happening in their own lives, in their own words. Children wrote a great deal about their day-to-day routine and some used their diary entries to share advice with other young people.
Another report, Social care inspection: the children’s audit, published in September 2011, gives children and young people’s views about their experience of social care inspections. Seventy-five per cent of children who responded felt that they were able to get their views across to an inspector and 83% said that inspectors were good at listening to children. The top three suggestions by children of what inspectors should do when carrying out inspections were: checking that the place is suitable and ‘homely’ for children to live in; speaking with children to ask about their experience living there; and observing how staff and children get on with each other.
The reports by the Children’s Rights Director are available on the Ofsted website www.ofsted.gov.uk and at the official website for the Office for the Children's Rights Director for England www.rights4me.org.