Racism in Schools
This week we published our new report, ‘Take it seriously’:children’s experiences of racism in secondary schools. This report examines the experiences of children and young people in Wales and shows that, sadly, very many children and young people experience racism and racist incidents within secondary school, and few have confidence in how this is dealt with. Also its shows that teachers and stakeholders feel similar experiences, echoing issues of lack of confidence and lack of clarity on how to respond to these incidents.
Our office listened to 170 children and young people from across Wales. We also spoke with teachers from 17 different schools and other important stakeholders while creating this report. You can read our whole report and a children’s version on our website.
Education in Healthcare Settings Report
This month we published our Education in Healthcare Settings report. This spotlight report examined the education provision provided to children and young people spending time in hospital or in another healthcare setting. The office researched this provision after receiving information that suggested that not all children were getting the same opportunities to learn while receiving inpatient healthcare. Staff from across all teams in the organisation contributed to the work, which listened to children’s views, healthcare professionals and parents/carers from across Wales. The report highlights that children in Wales face inconsistencies in the provision they receive. You can read the report here.
Commenting on the findings, the Children’s Commissioner said;
“What we see from our research is the value of learning to children and young people who are receiving treatment. It’s not just about keeping up with schoolwork; it’s also about the joy of learning, a sense of normality, and connecting with others. All children and young people have a right to education under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. But in reality, we can see from this research that not all children are receiving that right when they’re receiving treatment.
“There is a huge variation in the hours that local authorities say they’ll fund, and differences across Wales in funding arrangements between authorities and providers. What this means is that you might have one child who is getting the education in they need, and a child in similar circumstances in a different part of Wales who isn’t. That’s not right.
“Welsh Government needs to review local authorities’ duties in this area to make sure that every affected child has a full-time educational offer, and that funding arrangements are consistent across Wales and work effectively for children.”
Child Poverty Summit
Our first child poverty summit was held this month in Swansea in collaboration with Swansea University’s Observatory on Children’s Rights and Children in Wales. Opened by a video address from Deputy Minister Jane Hutt, the event brought together individuals from several organisations to discuss a pressing issue that is affecting the lives of children and young people daily across Wales. Rocio shared powerful experiences and a member of our young people’s advisory panel shared stories while setting a challenge for delegate to keep children at the heart of discussions. Thank you to everyone that attended.
Universal Children’s Day
November the 20th is Universal Children’s Day and Rocio celebrated the day with young people in Wrexham. This year’s theme for Children’s Day 2023 was ”for every child, every right’, and aimed at highlighting the dedication to maintaining the freedoms of every child around the world. The Commissioner spoke at the event and presented certificates for volunteers with the Mayor for Wrexham Andy Williams.
School visits are a great way of promoting children’s rights and the UNCRC to children and young people across Wales. This month we attended St Mary’s Primary School in Newport. Our team led a workshop that focused on Rocio’s role as the Children’s Commissioner and used resources such as our getting to Know your Rights poster.
Investigation & Advice Service Engagement
This month, our Investigation and Advice officers have been busy undertaking outreach to promote the service. They visited Heronsbridge School as part of an events to support children and young people. Our officers’ role at the event was to share information about our Investigation and Advice service which is a free and confidential service. You can find out more about our service and how to contact the team on our website.
Colegau Cymru Annual Conference
Recently Rocio attended the Colegau Cymru Annual conference. The event as attended by several key stakeholders and the event reflected on the challenges of the last few years on further education and looked to the future. There were several speakers, including the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
This month two members of our team attended and ran two workshops for young women to link UNCRC to the area where they live at ‘Rightsfest’, a children’s rights festival held in Cardiff. Here they mapped areas they did or did not access their rights, for instance, Article 28 – the right to education. Through the workshop the young people shared and discussed areas they didn’t get their rights like the right to safety.