Thursday, 7 August 2014

Making a manifesto

In February this year 30 young people from the north east, north west and London gathered in parliament to work on a young people's child poverty manifesto. They were representatives from youth councils that  are worried about the impact poverty has on children and young people's lives. They had been invited by the All Party Parliamentary Group of MP's working on child poverty to come up with practical ideas for improvement - a young people's child poverty manifesto. Children North East was selected by the APPG to facilitate this work.

Last weekend the work was concluded during a residential at the Thurston outdoor centre in the Lake District owned and managed by South Tyneside Council. The manifesto will be launched in parliament this autumn so I won't talk about it now. Suffice to say the experience of poor children in school features prominently.

A couple of weeks ago The Children's Society hosted a 'Select Committee' run by young people along with politicians to enquire into poverty and education. Children North East was invited to talk about our 'Poverty Proofing the School Day' project. We believe it is unique in trying to change the way schools pay attention to the needs and experience of students from poor families. We believe that creating a 'level playing field' for all students is an essential prerequisite for better educational outcomes for disadvantaged students of all kinds. The Select Committee will also be reporting in the autumn.

The aim of all this work is simple, with a General Election next May we want all the political parties to commit to policies that will help eradicate child poverty - actually a goal enshrined in law. But for once we want them to take notice of suggestions from those who really understand what  is needed because they live the humiliation of poverty every day, that is the children and young people themselves.

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