Summary of the Commission's response
The Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) consulted between April and July 2009 on whether to allow children and young people the right to appeal certain educational decisions and to make disability discrimination claims in their own right.
The Commission welcomed the proposals for children to have the right to bring appeals against exclusions, SEN statements/assessments and disability discrimination claims in their own name. Our view is that:
- children aged 11 and above should be presumed competent to use these rights of appeal and claim - unless there are reasonable and compelling grounds to think otherwise
- younger children should also have an independent right of appeal and claim where they can show sufficient understanding of the process and its implications
- adequately resourced, accessible and independent advocacy services must be provided to enable children to use these rights of appeal and claim
- advocacy for looked after children is most effective when the advocate is someone who knows the child well and has had opportunity to develop a relationship with the child over time
- further consultation - including consultation directly with children - is needed in respect of both the legislative and practical implementation of these proposed new rights.
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