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Why is it important that we listen to our young people?

The 2023 SENCO conference “Are we Listening?” focused on being person-centred: listening to pupils, gathering their views and acting accordingly.

With this focus, it was important to have input from pupils themselves.

Gemma Humphrey (SEND and Inclusion Adviser)  and Kathy Lockyear (Lead for Specialist Advisory Teaching Service) had the privilege of visiting the Angmering School to talk with a group of students (year 7 to year 11) about their experiences and thoughts on the importance of gaining pupil views.

Some time was spent thinking about and agreeing questions to ask each other. Then a general discussion was had about how they felt when they had not been listened to and conversely how they felt when they had and the difference this had made to them.

This discussion was recorded and made into a short film by Alan Gibbens. In addition to this, the young people spoke in person individually to the conference and a transcript of their speeches can be found here.

Delegates at the conference were impressed with the young people’s honesty, clarity of thoughts and reflectiveness. The film delivers a powerful message to us all and reminds us that “When a flower does not bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows and not the flower” (Alexander Den Heijer ).

Gratitude and thanks to the young people themselves (Annabelle, Archie, Bekah, Ellie, Francky, Gerard, Noah and Quinn) , also Molly and Lou Gatford from The Angmering School and Alan Gibbens from West Susses County Council for their time and commitment to this piece of work.

Why is it important that we listen to our young people?