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As Children’s Commissioner it is my job to promote and protect the rights of children, and to make sure their voices are heard. That’s why in September 2023, I launched The Big Ambition to hear directly from children, young people, and parents across the country.

I wanted to hear about what they wanted for the future, their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. In the year of the General Election, I thought it was a critical moment to take children and young people’s voices to policymakers, decision takers, parliamentarians, government, and all those working with and for children. And over 367,000 children and adults engaged with it. I was particularly pleased that this include so many children with social workers, living away from home, with additional needs, or missing education. A truly ambitious vision for childhood must have at its heart those children who are too often overlooked.

When I first saw the results of The Big Ambition survey, one number stood out to me above all others. 22% of children agreed that people who run the country listen to what they have to say. Initially this made me feel despondent. That this was a generation who had lost all faith in leaders and politicians. But as I read more and more of the responses to the survey, and reflected on the hundreds of children I had spoken to, I realised the message was in fact a very different one.

This is not a generation who have become cynical, who believe that nothing will ever change. This is a generation who feel frustrated that 4 they are not listened to, exactly because they have complete faith that if they were listened to, then politicians could and would transform their lives for the better.

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