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Children’s commissioner seeks to explore children’s priorities post-COVID

The largest ever consultation undertaken in England has been launched by the children’s commissioner for England.

The ‘Big Ask’, which seeks to explore what children’s priorities are for improving childhood post-COVID, will run from April 19th to May 19th and will form the basis of Dame Rachel de Souza’s ambitious Beveridge-style report due to be published later this year.

Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “It is time to give something back to children after the huge sacrifices they have made during the Covid pandemic. ‘The Big Ask’ will ask millions of children in England to tell us what life is like for them, what their hopes and ambitions are, and what is holding them back.

‘The Big Ask’ will be made available to every school in England, with schools encouraged to use it during classes and assemblies. It will be accompanied by an online assembly introduced by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford and will also be available via the Oak National Academy.

The survey will be available online until May 19th and available to any child who can access the internet. It will also be made available to organisations and services working with children including schools, youth groups, local authorities, charities who work with children and young people, Children in Care Councils, children’s homes, children’s mental health services, youth justice settings, community groups and others.

The Children’s Commissioner will be running focus groups with different communities and groups of children, which will include talking to parents and carers, to ensure that the experiences of babies and pre-school children are captured. There will also be focus groups for children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities or other complex needs.

Rachel de Souza will also be visiting schools to speak with children about their experiences of the pandemic and to hear about their hopes for the future. Schools in Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Norfolk, the Midlands, the South West and London will be included in the children’s commissioner’s tour.

Any answers provided are completely anonymous as the survey does not ask for any directly identifiable information.

Ms de Souza said: “I hope that every parent and carer, every teacher and anyone who works with children will encourage children to take part in this big, exciting opportunity. I want ‘The Big Ask’ to be the biggest survey of children ever carried out in this country so that we can better understand what children want from the people in power and those who make decisions about their lives.

“What children tell us will be at the heart of my Childhood Commission and ‘Beveridge-style’ blueprint for government and others to tackle some of the generational problems that have held back too many children for decades,” she concluded.

The Big Ask is available here.


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