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Voice of the child

It is every child's right to have their voice heard in decisions that affect them. Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states this.

Children and young people with additional learning needs have a unique knowledge of their own needs and circumstances. They will have their own views about what sort of help they would like to make the most of their education. (SEN Code of Practice)

They should, where possible, take part in decisions like setting targets, choice of schools, assessing their needs, annual reviews and change of schools. They should feel confident that they will be listened to and that their views are valued.

Finding out the child’s views may not always be easy. Very young children and children with severe communication difficulties, for example, may present a real challenge for professionals. But the principle of finding out the views of the child or young person is very important. Their opinions and experiences can help professionals to reach decisions. Councils, schools and nurseries should help this to happen.

Children and young people living in Wales have a right to:

  • appeal certain decisions made by their local authority about their additional learning needs and
  • bring a claim about disability discrimination against schools in Wales.

The appeal and claim rights are the same as those for parents and carers. This does not affect the parents’ right to make an appeal and claim. It simply means that children now have the same rights as their parents/carers to make their own appeal and claim.

Page updated on: 03/05/2016

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