A No Wrong Door to Neurodiversity: a book of experiences
This month saw the culmination of work we’ve been doing with children and their families who are looking for help and support with neurodevelopmental conditions and undiagnosed neurodivergence. Included in our book are experiences of children and their families, a clinical psychologist’s perspective, and key areas we’ve requested Welsh Government to consider. You can find our book of experiences, along with an easy read with symbols version and the views of parents and professionals, here on our website.
Some of these families sought support from our independent Investigations and Advice service. This is our free and confidential service to advise and support children or those who care for them if they feel a child’s been treated unfairly. There’s more information about the service here on our website.
Our school visits
The Commissioner and the participation team have been busy visiting different schools (in person and online) to teach about the office’s work on protecting children’s rights and to see others’ work on promoting them. Recently Rocio visited Sketty Primary School and received a lovely welcome by both learners and teachers. The school’s learners who are Rights Respecting Ambassadors and School Councillors shared their work on children’s rights from across the school. Also, during the visit learners and teachers showed the Children’s Commissioner and one of our Participation Officers their work on wellbeing including a tour of their fantastic Wellbeing Shed. Thank you Sketty Primary for a great visit! More information on our free, bilingual Ambassador Schemes can be found on our website.
If you would like to request a visit from our team please contact our office here.
Listening and learning from service providers
Earlier in the month, members of the team headed to three different Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales (EYST) office locations for an informative staff development day. The EYST staff gave detailed descriptions of their work and how they support young people and their families who are from ethnic minority backgrounds. It was interesting to hear the numerous projects they run in order to provide a breadth of support. The team were also lucky enough to hear from individuals who have been supported by the charity and who have benefited from their work in many ways. The visit highlighted the challenges faced by families arriving in Wales as Asylum Seekers and Refugees. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about their drop in sessions that provide a space for young people to socialise and receive support for their school work. Certainly an informative and beneficial staff development day as everyone left with a deeper understanding of the challenges children and young people face in Wales. This month our staff also took part in racism awareness training . As part of our learning and development programme, we’re arranging other similar visits to organisations who work with and for children and young people. If you think we could benefit from a visit to your place of work, please do reach out.
This month Rocio was awarded her MBE for services to children and young people across Wales from the Prince of Wales, with whom she agreed that there was lots of work to be done to support children and young people in Wales. Congratulations from all of us, Rocio!
Thank you, Andy
March has also been a month of a sad farewell to Andrew Wallsgrove, our Head of Practice who has retired. He has been a key part of the office for over a decade. Before his last day he answered some questions about his time in the office –
What have you enjoyed the most about your role?
I have enjoyed working with a nice group of people who are motivated to work hard for the children and young people of Wales. The shared commitment has been an important aspect of working in this organisation.
How long have you worked for the Children’s Commissioner for Wales?
It has been 13 years since I started working here in October 2009. I never expected to stay so long! I have worked with three children’s commissioners during my time. I first started working with Keith Towler before then continuing on with Sally Holland and now Rocio Cifuentes.
What will you miss the most?
Contact with colleagues! I will miss working with a great group of people daily. Although the ways of working changed during and after the Covid-19 Pandemic I still enjoyed coming into the office to discuss work and projects with different members of staff.
What are some of your highlights of your time working here?
For the Staff Development Day in September 2019 some of the office completed the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge in 24 Hours. It was challenging at points but together we motivated one and other to complete the challenge! Certainly a memory that will stay in the mind for a long time!
Another highlight was holding events at the Atlantic College for looked after children to meet one another. I have also enjoyed travelling around Wales to various places for different meetings and events.
Thank you Andy for all your hard work over the years you will be greatly missed!