Children are not just the future; they are also the present. They have dreams, opinions, and aspirations that deserve to be heard and respected. That’s why the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, is committed to listening to children across the country and championing their voices.
One of the priorities of the Children’s Commissioner is to help children make a better world for themselves and others. This means supporting children to have a healthy environment and planet, to be treated fairly, and to have a say in the decisions that affect them.
In ‘The Big Ask’, the largest ever survey of children, over 550,000 children in England responded, launching a national conversation across the country. In their responses, children told the Children’s Commissioner about their own ambitions and their hopes for the future of all children.
Some of the things that children care about are:
A healthy environment and planet: Just over 1 in 5 children (22%) chose this as one of their top priorities for having a good life when they grow up. The Children’s Commissioner has been involved in COP26, the global climate summit, where she teamed up with Generation Earthshot to teach children in Glasgow about the environment and how to reduce climate change.
Everyone being treated fairly: 1 in 5 children chose this as one of the most important things for their future. The Children’s Commissioner believes that nobody is less capable than anyone else because of their skin colour, gender, disability, or background. She has spoken at the launch of Books without Borders, a project that aims to get books to Ukrainian children staying in the UK, and has visited many migrant and refugee children to see how they are being supported.
Having a say in what happens: Children have the right to express their views and be involved in decisions that affect them. The Children’s Commissioner has set up two new advisory boards this year: A Care Experienced Advisory Board and a Children’s Advisory Boards to involve children even more closely in her work, ensuring it reflects their views. It was great to have the Care Experienced Advisory Board kick off last week!