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Your child’s views

Children and young people should be at the heart of any decision made about their education and support.

It is important that children and young people take part as fully as possible in the decisions made about them and that their views, wishes and feelings are taken into account. 

When your child is very young, as their parent or carer you’ll know what they need and the kind of help that would best support them. You can be their advocate and speak on their behalf.

If your young person is not able to communicate their wants and needs on their own you can be their advocate and speak on their behalf.

As your child gets older and has clear views of their own, it’s important to encourage them to be ambitious and support them to share in the decisions made about their support. Sharing their views is a great way to help children and young people learn to speak up for themselves as adults.

If the needs identified, the targets set or the support given don’t help a child or young person to achieve their goals, then they’re less likely to work. So good planning and support starts with understanding what your child or young person is good at, what’s hard for them and what their goals and dreams are.

When a young person reaches 16 and the end of compulsory school age (the end of the school year in which they turn 16) the legal rights around making decisions pass to them and away from parents and carers.  So, as your young person gets older, it becomes even more important that they’re able to express and share their views confidently. You can still provide support and advocacy for them if needed too.

Professionals will talk directly to a young person aged 16 or over, as well as or instead of you. Most young people will want or need their parents or carers to stay involved and help with decisions. As a parent or carer you can act on their behalf if they’re happy for you to do that.

The right of a young person to make a decision is subject to their capacity to do so. That means that to have the right to make a decision they must be capable of making it. This is called mental capacity. If a young person can’t make decisions, then someone else can do it on their behalf, as long as it’s in their best interest.

You can watch our YouTube video aimed at young people about submitting their views around the support they need/have here.