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Children’s manifesto

All schools should stay open during evenings and weekends and throughout school holidays, says the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, in a 12-page manifesto, aimed at the six main political parties.

She says that besides adding to children’s access to education, it would help parents with childcare and be good for children’s mental health and social skills and help to tackle the scourge of serious violence and gangs.

She wants to see neighbourhood police officers attached to every school. Parks should be made safer: with low fences so the children can see out (and adults can see in), more lights, more adults, and CCTV – all suggestions made by children consulted. Youth workers should work with children at risk of exclusion to keep them in school and to open up opportunities.

Launching the manifesto, she said: “The building blocks of a good childhood haven’t changed – secure relationships, a decent home and inspiring schools. I want politicians to think seriously about whether they are truly prioritising these things for children. I’ve heard more national political conversation about HS2, water nationalisation and tax cuts – and of course Brexit – than I have about children.

“Children do not have a vote. Unless political parties choose to listen to them, they do not have a voice. I am the eyes and ears of children in the Whitehall system and I see far, far too often the interests of children being subjugated to the interests of others – of business, or of bureaucracies, or of adults who do have votes and whose views are therefore counted.

“We should be ashamed that there are literally millions of kids in England not having the childhood we in a decent society would want them to have. Yet none of this is inevitable: we get the society we choose. The right help at the right time pays dividends – to the children, to society and the public purse, now and in the future.

“I want England to be a great place for all children to grow up. This manifesto sets out a vision for a more child, and family-focused society. It demands that all political parties take action in their manifestos to improve the lives of kids.”


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