Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bad children don't deserve education?

Disappointing to see that yet another attempt to give children in prison a right to education has failed. Not many people realise that s562 of the Education Act 1996 specifically excludes children detained by order of a court from the right to education.

Bearing in mind that we have one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in Europe (10!) and that around 6,500 children aged 12-17 spend time in prison each year, over a third of whom are of compulsory education age (in itself disgraceful), the implications are serious because any failure to provide adequate education can't be challenged under the Education Act. A lot of young offenders have SENs, but funding and statements don't have to follow them into prison.

You would think that common sense alone would make politicians realise that education might just be the only way out of trouble for a lot of these children, and depriving them of any specific right is bad for all of us.

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