Big Brother is listening to teenagers

STEVE DOWNES Warning to Norfolk teenagers - Big Brother is watching you. That won't come as a surprise to youngsters who are used to being scrutinised and criticised.

STEVE DOWNES

Warning to Norfolk teenagers - Big Brother is watching you.

That won't come as a surprise to youngsters who are used to being scrutinised and criticised.

But before a countywide chorus of sighing is unleashed, the good news is this - Big Brother is also listening to you.

Yesterday, scores of youngsters from City of Norwich School had their chance to tell the government exactly what they thought about their lot.

They were able to unleash their frustration and share their ideas in a Big Brother-style diary room, set up by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in the corner of the school's dining room.

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The teenagers at the school were brimming with ideas.

Callum Stroud, 14, said: "I think there should be wider roads because a lot of cars try to cram through narrow roads and kids nearly get run over.

"There should be more police community support officers."

He also called for "more fruit and veg" for children, and urged the government to "ban cars from roads around schools and certain places inside the city".

He added: "There are a lot of matters that concern children and I think if they have an opinion it needs to be said - and someone ought to listen."

Anna Hufton, 13, called for more money to be put into struggling schools to give all children an "equal life chance".

Anna added: "Everyone was my age once, but some people jump to conclusions about teenagers. If people want to know about us, they should ask us what we think."

Alex Widdrington, 14, urged the government to fund more community centres for young people.

He said: "If you have community centres which are actually looked after and there are fun things to do then instead of fighting with each other and causing trouble, people will enjoy themselves."

Sixth form co-ordinator Kathleen Mills said: "It's good to listen to young people as long as what they say is constructive. Most of these students are constructive and always positive."

The room is being set up at schools across England, and the youngsters are apparently guaranteed a "direct line" to children's secretary Ed Balls.

Thousands of other children are being encouraged to fill in questionnaires as part of the nationwide consultation Our Children, Time to Talk.

A web-based consultation document is at www.dcsf.gov.uk/timetotalk.

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