A guest blog post by Bernie Brown, Director of Children’s Services for Bolton
We were delighted to welcome the Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza to Bolton last week to talk to children in local schools about The Big Ask. This is the largest ever survey of children in England, designed to find out what their concerns and aspirations about the future are.
Dame Rachel visited a range of schools in Bolton, from Turton High School in the morning, then Blackrod Primary, Rumworth Special School and rounding off the day with a visit to Essa Primary and Secondary Academy.
Children at Turton High and at Blackrod Primary spoke to the Commissioner about their views about the pandemic and what they would like to see done to make life better for children in England. Catering students at Rumworth prepared a beautiful afternoon tea and students there were excited to show off their forest school. Essa Academy even laid on a cadet parade for the occasion as an example of the trust wide approach to enrichment for pupils. There were some great examples of primary pupils art on show too!
The results from this survey will help the Children’s Commissioner identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their potential, put forward solutions and set ambitious goals for the country to achieve. The more children take part, the stronger the results will be. As Director of Children’s Services for Bolton I have been encouraging all schools in the area to take part in The Big Ask and ensure children in our area have their chance to have their say and influence the Childhood Commission. I am proud that this week Bolton had the highest response rate for the survey of anywhere in England.
The survey is live until the 28th May and I would encourage everyone to promote it as widely as possible. Now is the time to ensure that we give something back to children in England after the uncertainty of the last year. We need to celebrate children’s successes and their resilience and really listen to children about what matters to them as we come out of this pandemic and act on their proposals supporting them as they look forward to a brighter future where all children matter and where opportunities are inclusive and accessible to every child. A whole system response to childhood in a country that works for all children.