As well as our day-to-day work we also work on a series of projects every year – all linked to our three-year plan.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commissioner and her team have decided to dedicate time towards ensuring children can access their rights during this difficult period. In addition to re-orienting the office’s core policy and participation work to adapt to the pandemic, the team is working on two projects dedicated towards protecting children’s rights during this period:
Coronavirus and Me Survey
The Commissioner and her team gathered the views of almost 24,000 children and young people about their experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. This project is in partnership with Welsh Government, Children in Wales and the Welsh Youth Parliament.
You can read the Coronavirus and Me survey results by clicking the link below.
The office will be conducting further work on the findings from the survey, including:
- Publishing a series of reports on the experiences of different groups of children and young people;
- Developing workshops for children and young people in various settings to share the survey findings and look at issues in more details.
The survey findings and information from workshops will support the office’s influencing work as it seeks to hold Welsh Government to account and ensure all children access their rights.
Coronavirus Information Hub
At the beginning of the lockdown at the end of March 2020, the Commissioner launched the Coronavirus Information Hub, providing the latest information and advice on issues affecting children, young people and those who care for them. The Commissioner and her team will continue to update the Information Hub throughout the pandemic.
2020-2021 Work Plan
The Commissioner’s team is also working on a series of projects as part of her annual work plan 2020-2021. Here’s a summary of this year’s projects:
Children’s rights in organisations
We’ll keep helping Welsh organisations to use The Right Way (TRW), a framework based on children’s rights to make services better for children and young people. We’ll work with public bodies including health boards, local authorities and the police to make sure children’s rights guide their work with children and young people. This year our focus will be on working on ensuring social work in Wales is underpinned by the CRC.
There is a law in Wales that means all schools have to have a school council. Some school councils are an effective way to give children and young people a say in their school’s decision-making. But some schools councils are less effective. Our research shows that young people in secondary schools feel less able to participate in decision making than in other schools. This project aims to improve participation in secondary schools so that all young people in Wales experience their right to have their say.
Behaviour and Inclusion
Through this project we’ll explore how schools in Wales are managing difficult and challenging behaviour of children in foundation phase settings. We want to understand the extent of this problem in Wales, and how schools and local authorities are responding to this issue in a way that is keeping children safe, providing them with appropriate assessment and support and enabling them to have an education.
Reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
We’ll be teaming up again with our counterparts across the UK to draft a report on the UK Government and devolved administrations’ performance on children’s rights over the last five years, ensuring the voice of children from Wales and the issues affecting their lives have prominence. The report will be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child who’ll then issue a list of issues they’ll use to analyse the Governments’ performance.
This project will see us organise mock elections in all secondary schools in Wales to coincide with 2021 assembly election, to take place in all schools on the same day, and to give young people the closest possible experience to voting in an election. We want to help all young people (aged 11 – 18) to understand the context of their vote and to make sure every young person feels part of the excitement that 16 and 17 year olds will feel as they cast an actual vote for the very first time.
Review of Welsh Government – Home Education and Independent Schools
We are currently undertaking a review of Welsh Government’s decision making in relation to home education and independent schools. Click the link below to learn more about the review.