This comment in The Times, Friday July 17, 2009 by Anthony Browne, the Children’s Laureate:
Philip Pullman and three of my predecessors as Children’s Laureate, Anne Fine, Micheal Morpurgo and Quentin Blake, say that as an act of protest they will stop visiting schools.
These distinguished children’s authors and illustrators are infuriated with a Government scheme that requires them to be vetted in case they are a danger to children.
I have a certain sympathy with them – but I will not feel compelled to join them in their boycott.
Although it will be irritating to have to pay 64 pounds for the privilege of being on the Independent Safeguarding Authority database, I do not see why writers should be treated differently from others who work with children – from music teachers to dinner ladies.