The Children’s Commissioner for England
Dame Rachel de Souza
As Children’s Commissioner I take on a crucial role, sitting at the heart of Government, delivering for children, and championing their voices and needs. As a former teacher, headteacher and school trust leader for over 30 years, I have seen first-hand how passionate and compassionate children are. This is an ambitious generation that wants to succeed in life, but that also wants to play its part in improving the world around them. They need us, as adults, to listen to them and ensure they get the right help to fulfil their true potential.
My priority has always been to listen to children across the country, to hear about their lives and the impact of lockdown, to help shape my time as Children’s Commissioner. That’s why in 2021, I launched The Big Ask, a survey of children in England. I’m incredibly proud and awed by the response that I received from children. With over a half-a-million responses it was the largest-ever survey of children. Children up and down the country told us about their experiences of the pandemic, their lives today, their dreams for the future and their ideas for how we can help children in this country achieve their ambitions. I am particularly proud that, through the survey, our visits and focus groups we heard about the experiences of children of all ages, including babies and toddlers; children from all local authorities, and children from hard-to-reach groups, including children in care.
The Big Ask also revealed just how important a loving, stable, and supportive family life is to children, both now and for their future. In 2022, following a commission from Government, I published my independent Family Review, which paints a unique and comprehensive picture of family life today. It focuses on what families look like in modern Britain, defines for the first time what exactly is protective about them, and looks at the unique experiences of children for whom the state is their parent.
I am dedicated to spending my six years in office helping children and young people to achieve their dreams, hold fast to what is important to them and protecting their rights, which is what has helped shaped my Business Plan. My office’s work is laid out by the key priorities children told me they care about: Better world, Community, Children’s social care, School, Family, Jobs and skills and Health.