New Commission will look into needs of diverse children

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A new probe into how the city is treating the wide diversity of children in MK has been launched.

The Commission on Ethnic Diversity will examine how the needs of kids under eight are being addressed.

Set up by Milton Keynes Council’s children and families partnership, the Commission’s job will be to look at what services are currently available and address any shortfall.

Led by independent chair Dr Umut Erel from The Open University, the Commission will spend the next six months asking the views of children under eight from various ethnic backgrounds.

The views of the Council of Faiths, community leaders, parish and ward councillors and MK Equality Council will also be sought, along with those of police, education bosses, health providers and the council.

Dr Erel, a sociology lecturer who has carried out research into subjects including migration, ethnicity, culture and representation, will be joined by representatives from groups including the ethnic minority achievement support service and children’s social care at the council, MK NHS and from supplementary schools in the borough.

A final report will be taken to the children and families partnership in September.

Dr Erel said: “The commission’s work is an important step in taking account of the growing ethnic diversity of Milton Keynes’ children and families, ensuring their voices are heard.”

And director of children’s services at the council, Gail Tolley, added: “This commission will help us to find out how children and families experience local services and give them the opportunity to influence future priorities and actions.”

The Commission was sparked by a report showing there has been a growth in the proportion of school pupils from black and minority ethnic groups.