Tuesday, 3 February 2009

I was reading 'The Good Childhood Inquiry' commissioned by the Children's Society, which concludes that children's lives in Britain have become "more difficult than in the past", adding that "more young people are anxious and troubled"...

The Report argues that the aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults is now the greatest threat to British children and calls for a sea-change in social attitudes and policies to counter the damage done to children by society. Family break-up, unprincipled advertising, too much competition in education and income inequality are mentioned as big contributing factors.

The recommendations from the Report are:

Parents should:

  • Make a long term commitment to each other.
  • Be fully informed about what is involved before their child is born.
  • Love their children, each other and establish boundaries for children. .
  • Help children develop spiritual qualities.

Teachers should:

  • Help children to develop happy, likeable social personalities.
  • Base discipline on mutual respect.
  • Eliminate physical and psychological violence from school.
  • Make Personal, Social and Health Education statutory.
  • Present sex and relationships education not as biology but part of social and emotional learning.
  • New tests on emotional and behavioural well being should be carefully piloted.

Government should:

  • Introduce non religious, free civil birth ceremonies.
  • Offer high quality parenting classes, psychological support and adolescent mental health services throughout the country.
  • Train at least 1,000 more highly qualified psychological therapists over the next five years.
  • Automatically assess the mental health of children entering local authority care or custody.
  • Raise the pay and status of all people who work with children including teachers and child care workers.
  • Give a salary supplement to teachers taking jobs in deprived areas.
  • Replace all SATS tests with an annual assessment designed mainly to guide a child’s learning.
  • Stop publishing data on individual schools from which league tables are constructed by the media.
  • Start a major campaign to persuade employers to offer apprenticeships.
  • Build a high quality youth centre for every 5,000 young people.
  • Ban all building on sports fields and open spaces where children play.
  • Ban firms from advertising to British children under 12.
  • Ban adverts for alcohol or unhealthy food on television before 9 pm.
  • Reduce the proportion of children in relative poverty from 22% to under 10% by 2015.

The media should:

  • Rethink the amount of violence they put out, the unbalanced impression they give of the risks that children face from strangers and the exaggerated picture they portray of young people threatening our social stability.

Advertisers should

  • Stop encouraging premature sexualisation, heavy drinking and overeating.

All Society should:

  • Take a more positive attitude to children. Welcome them into society and help them.

Visit the Children's Society website at http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/ to find out more.

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