We believe that involving children and young people should be a core part of the work of any practitioner in the sector.
We follow the social model of disability which takes the view that people with impairments are disabled by barriers created by society. By actively identifying and removing barriers to children and young people’s participation, practitioners can ensure their opportunities are accessible and inclusive.
Participation is more than a means to an end. We create opportunities to ensure that children and young people inform our work in lots of different ways, and that what we do is guided by what’s important to them. This includes consultation, project specific work and training.
We work on a range of different projects to ensure disabled children and young people’s voice influence policy and practice. This has included work with the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Research in Practice and Ofsted. And of course, we have worked closely with the Department for Education to host a national young people’s group who advise on the SEND reforms. This work has been extended this year, in partnership with KIDS to look at effective ways to ensure disabled children and young people can participate in decision-making.
We take what we learn from these projects and the experience delivering participation programmes and share our findings with the sector to support practitioners to embed best practice in their work.