Joint Committee On Human Rights Tenth Report


School Exclusions

  71.  In its Concluding Observations the UN Committee stated that it was—

and recommended that the Government—

    ... take appropriate measures to reduce temporary and permanent exclusions...[123]

  72.  In our recent report on the case for a children's commissioner for England,[124] we noted that although the Government had begun to take measures to address the needs of permanently excluded children, the right to education guaranteed by Article 28 of the UNCRC was unlikely to be realised by children who suffer frequent temporary exclusion from school.


  73.  We also noted in our report on the case for a commissioner that the UN Committee was "... concerned at the widespread bullying in schools".[125] In this context we welcomed the new initiative launched by the Government on 26 March 2003 to promote anti­bullying measures,[126] and expressed our hope that it would not suffer the fate of other anti­bullying initiatives, and fade after an initial burst of enthusiasm. We concluded that the persistence of the experience of mental and physical violence by children against children in our schools needs to be tackled with at least as much attention and vigour as has been given to the problems of adults within the workplace.

Education about Rights

  74.  We also noted in our report on the case for a commissioner that the UN Committee was—

We welcomed the introduction of the citizenship curriculum, but expressed some disappointment at the lack of prominence given within it to the UN Convention and about the nature of a "culture of respect for human rights" more generally. We welcome the recent announcement by the Children and Young People's Unit that it will be launching a website "for people to learn about children's rights and find out what the UK Government is doing to promote and protect them".[128] We concluded in our earlier report that an independent commissioner for children could make a significant difference to the work of teachers in seeking to ensure that all children are taught about their rights and the responsibilities that they entail.

Participation by Children in Decisions that affect them

  75.  We also noted in our report that the UN Committee was concerned that—

Since the UN Committee's report, the Government has made progress in implementing Article 12, particularly in education. The Department for Education and Skills has recently published a progress report on its Learning to Listen initiative which involves consultation with young people about a range of education issues.[130] However, in our earlier report, we concluded that the best means of developing these initiatives would be the establishment of a children's commissioner for England who, together with those in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, could help children and young people make an appropriate contribution to consultation by public authorities, and could provide useful guidance to all levels of government and public services on the effectiveness of meaningful consultation with children and young people about decisions that affect them.

122   See Annex 3, para 45. Back

123   See Annex 3, para 46(a). Back

124   Ninth report, Session 2002-03, The Case for a Children's Commissioner for England, op cit. Back

125   See Annex 3, Para 45. Back

126   See DfES Press Notice 2003/0046 of 26 March 2003. Back

127   See Annex 3, para 20. Back

128   CYPU, call for information, 20 May 2003. Back

129   See Annex 3, para 29. Back

130   DfES Press Release, 21 May 2003. Back

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