I applied for the post of Children’s Commissioner because I want to make sure that the ‘3 Ps’ of children and young people’s rights are at the top of everyone’s agenda in Wales. These are:
- Participation: do you have a chance to have a say in issues that affect you?
- Provision: do you have all the things you need to lead a happy life? (like good food, a secure home, someone to care for you, education and a chance to play)
- Protection: are you kept safe from harm?
It was really exciting for me to spend some of my first day meeting and hearing from pupils who are real experts in children’s rights. These were members of the school council of St Thomas Community Primary School in Swansea, led by their chair Chloe and deputy chair Josh. Chloe and Josh are Super Ambassadors for my office.
I was welcomed by the school choir singing some brilliant songs for me, including their own version of ‘Ar Hyd y Nos’ set to new lyrics. I met the school rights mascot ‘Roaring Rights’ (which is a quite cuddly looking tiger) and heard about all the amazing things that members of the school council have been doing to make sure that pupils have their say in the school and understand what their rights are.
They told me how they make sure posters about children’s rights are displayed in all classrooms and how they have written about children’s rights in the newsletter to parents. As a result of taking part in ourSpecial Missions on school dinners, they wrote a report to the head teacher about what changes could be made and he has now arranged for the school council to meet with the school’s dinner lady to discuss what can happen next.
They also told me about how they encourage everyone in the school to take part in our Special Missions and I thanked them for their fantastic artwork they have sent to my office, which is going to be displayed in our tent in the Urdd Eisteddfod in Caerphilly in May.
Thanks to Chloe, Josh and the whole St Thomas school council for inviting me. I will never forget my first school visit as Children’s Commissioner!