Response to announcement on foundation phase pupils returning

5 February 2021

Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said:

“I am relieved that the country is now able to take the first step on the road to recovery by welcoming the youngest learners back to school settings.

“Within the last two weeks, we’ve consulted with nearly 20,000 children and young people. Every age group – from 3 to 18 – have expressed strong negative feelings about the impact of the pandemic on their lives. The 3 – 7 year olds who took part, spoke about missing friends, family members and experiences:

  • “I feel lonely because I can’t see my friends or my teacher. I miss them and having play dates. I miss their kindness and sharing.” (age 5, south west Wales)
  • “We can’t do anything fun except lots of walks. It feels like it’s never going to get better.” (age 5, south west Wales)
  • “I am bored.” (age 5, north east Wales)
  • “I’d rather be at school playing.” (age 5, south east Wales)

“These children will benefit greatly from today’s announcement. We can all be encouraged by the evidence from the independent TAG that a return to school for this age group is safe.”

“We all continue to have a part to play in ensuring we keep the rate of infection low to enable the Government to allow more and more learners back to settings as soon as possible; I am encouraged that education remains the Government’s priority when easing restrictions and would urge them to provide clear and regular updates for all other learners.”