Politics‘They don’t care about our future’: 4 in 5...

‘They don’t care about our future’: 4 in 5 children don’t feel listened to by politicians


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The biggest survey of children in England ever produced has revealed four in five children don’t feel listened to by politicians.

The Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza, who led the project, is calling on political parties to put children at the heart of their manifestos in the election.

It comes as charities have launched a mass-scale election for young people under 18, which will allow them to cast a vote for political candidates in their constituencies through their school or youth group.

The survey was sent to 367,000 children aged 0-18, as well as some adults, in every local authority in England.

It asked children to share their thoughts and opinions on things like family, education, health, online safety and their future, and then their responses would be shown to the politicians in charge of running the country

Why was the Big Ambition survey commissioned?

Dame de Souza said the survey “is a call to action to all politicians and policymakers in this general election year: listen to children and act on what they are telling you.”

“This is a generation of children faced with ever-evolving technology, stiff competition for jobs and university places, a postcode lottery in access to good healthcare, parents struggling with rising costs and lives played out over social media – but rather than becoming despondent or pessimistic, they are charged with energy and a passion for making change.” said Dame de Souza.

What did the results show

The questions in the survey focussed on ten main areas: family, education, social care, youth work, online safety, health, safety from crime, jobs and skills, unaccompanied children seeking asylum, and thoughts on ‘a better world’.

The results showed that just one in five children (22%) felt that the people who run the country listened to what they had to say, and only 10% of teenagers (ages 12-18) believe they have the power to influence the issues they care about.

Source: Unsplash

Dame de Souza said she wants to tackle this by asking every political party to agree to write a document for children, setting out what they will do, and how they will involve children, and hold a leaders’ debate about childhood. She also wants children to be talked to about every legislation and policy reform that affects them before it is made into law.

60% of children said they enjoyed going to school or college – with three quarters (75%) agreeing they have great teachers who support them.

On health and wellbeing, the survey showed that less than half of children (49%) agreed with the statement ‘You feel happy with the way you look’. 60% of boys agreed, compared to just 40% of girls.

71% of children say they have a healthy diet, and 68% of children with SEND (Special educational needs and disabilities), and adults answering on their behalf, said they can access good healthcare, compared to 84% for children without SEND.

Around 80% of younger children ( 6-11-year-olds) said they felt safe and protected in their local area, compared to 66% of 12- to-18-year-olds.

Almost three-quarters of children (72%) agreed that there were fun activities where they live, but that falls to 62% for children with special educational needs or disabilities.

Children said that activities and clubs should be better funded, accessible for every child, held in-person and should be easy to find, as a way to help children avoid falling into crime or gang activity.

Mike Omoniyi
Mike Omoniyi
Mike Omoniyi is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Common Sense Network. He oversees and is responsible for the direction of the Network. Mike is an activist, singer/songwriter and keen athlete. With a degree in Politics Philosophy and Economics, MA in Political Science (Democracy and Elections) and an incoming PhD on a study of Cyber-Balkanisation, Mike is passionate about politics and the study of argumentation. He is also the Managing Director of a number of organisations including, Our God Given Mission, The BAM Project and The Apex Group.

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