Headlines: October 28th, 2008

Children using social care services or who have to live away from home want more protection when they go online. They want to be protected from unsuitable sites and have adult supervision according to a new report from the Children’s Rights Director for England , Dr Roger Morgan. Meanwhile an Ofsted report today says bullying is still a concern for younger teenagers almost half of whom are worried about their future.

Dr Morgan’s report, ‘Future care: Children’s advice on future care standards’, is based on consultations with 686 children and young people who discussed the key issues they wanted considered for inclusion in the National Minimum Standards, one of which was the need for all children to know about how to stay safe on the Internet. “The message here is simple, children are taking their internet safety seriously, but many clearly don’t feel confident that they can protect themselves on their own,” Dr Morgan said.

Meanwhile in a survey of almost 150,000 10 to 15 year-olds Ofsted found the majority were happy, healthy and felt safe in their schools and local areas, although almost half were worried about their future. Young people in 145 local authority areas were asked about their lives and how good councils were at providing services for them. As well as concerns over bullying they raised long-standing problems with the levels of drinking, drug use and smoking.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, Christine Gilbert , said, the survey found much that was positive and some things had improved since last year. “However, more needs to be done to support concerns for those children who do not feel safe in schools, those who are bullied and children who smoke, drink and misuse drugs,” she said and she added, “It is the responsibility of agencies such as local councils, as well as schools, to ensure children get the advice they need in order to make the right decisions for their futures.”