Over the last year the Children’s Commissioner’s office has developed a range of resources and shared advice for children and young people:
Jobs and skills
Where can I go with maths?
We have developed ‘Where can I go with maths?’, a resource that profiles role models who use maths or maths skills in their work and helps connect the Key Stage 3 maths curriculum with careers, skills and everyday life.
We will be releasing another update of the resource for National Numeracy Day 2023 and would love to share more profiles from role models in a diverse range of careers. New profiles can be added via this link.
The Big Ask data challenge
In Maths Week England the Children’s Commissioner launched The Big Ask Maths Week Challenge which is open for submissions until May 10th 2023. This is an opportunity to learn about what young people told us about their wellbeing and future priorities, using real data from The Big Ask and drawing on elements of Key Stage 3 and 4 maths curriculum.
There are two options for completing The Big Ask Maths Week Challenge. With access to a computer, we’d recommend completing the spreadsheet challenge, to create a summary table and chart using 1,000 randomly selected observations from The Big Ask. Without access to a computer, we’d recommend completing the printable worksheet.
On our maths page we share the two versions of the challenge. We will share the winner and runners up on National Numeracy Day, 18th May 2023.
In The Big Ask, the Children’s Commissioner heard from over half a million children and young people across England. A lot of them said they were worried about their mental health. These short flyers for primary school pupils and secondary school students can help them talk about their feelings and shares where to find more support:
We also shared advice on where to get support for your mental health.
We are working with the Youth Sport Trust Youth Board to come up with ideas for ensuring every child and young person can benefit from sports and active play. We will share more about this in the coming year.
We provide real, practical support to children, schools and families through our Back Into School webpages. These pages bring together information and resources to support children including resources for children living in Kinship Care, young carers and children struggling with their mental health.
Children’s voices podcast
The Children’s Commissioner spoke to children about coming back to school after COVID. They discuss what it is like being back with restrictions in place and why school is where they should, and want, to be. They also share their future career aspirations. Listen to the podcast here.
We have been looking into the barriers preventing children from attending school regularly and as part of this we worked with groups of young carers to find out what support they need. They told us about the need for a young carers champion in their school. The Children’s Commissioner also hosted an online meeting with young carers who spoke to us about their lives and priorities, their aspirations and worries for the future. There is more information on support for young carers on our Back into School page for children and young people.
The Children’s Commissioner took children’s views to COP27 and the previous year we produced a guide to COP26 for children and slides for schools to help young people get involved with events. The Children’s Commissioner also teamed up with Generation Earthshot to teach children in Glasgow about the environment and joined a ‘teach-the-teacher’ lesson where she heard first-hand how passionate children are to reduce climate change, as well as solutions to make this happen.
Children’s Advisory Board
We have launched the Children’s Commissioner’s first Children’s Advisory Board and will be sharing views from the young people who are taking part over the year.
Children’s rights flyers and the UNCRC
We have developed flyers about a child’s right to no discrimination and their right to be heard. Students on the Children’s Commissioner’s Children’s Advisory Board also represented us at the 94th pre-session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child children’s meeting. They shared their thoughts and ideas for making children’s lives better, as a group choosing to discuss equality for women in the workplace and what can schools can do now to help to secure equal opportunities.
Care Experienced Advisory Board
The deadline for applications for the Children’s Commissioner’s first Care Experienced Advisory Board is this Sunday, 19th February. The Advisory Board is an exciting, voluntary opportunity for care experienced young people aged 18-25, giving them the chance to have their voice heard, share thoughts on our work, create useful and relevant resources for children and young people and develop new skills.
The Children’s Commissioner was asked by the Government to explore how the online world can be made safer. She delivered a set of recommendations to strengthen the Online Safety Bill based on the views put forward by children in focus groups and workshops.
The Children’s Commissioner has also been speaking to social media and adult industries organisations to share what they can and should be doing urgently to keep young people safe online.
We worked with children and young people to publish a guide for parents – “The things I wish my parents had known” – which covers issues including pornography consumption, intimate image sharing and sexualised bullying.
We are also working with young people this year to develop a guide for teenagers around these topics.
The Big Summer Survey
Children across the country told us how they spent their time over the summer holiday through The Big Summer Survey. We have put together a webpage for children and young people based on what the survey found with lots of ideas for things to do, including a guide for finding local youth clubs and ways to get wild with RSPB.
As part of the Children’s Commissioner’s Independent Family Review – a Review into contemporary family life commissioned by Government – children’s voices have been essential. One of the groups we worked with were young carers, running a workshop at the Young Carers Festival 2022 to find out what family means to them, what they would like to change for young carers and what support they would like to see for young carers and their families. We got them to share their thoughts on a roll of paper and their response was over six metres long!
We also asked families to share their stories and have been sharing these profiles over the last 5 months.
Children’s voices podcast
The Children’s Commissioner visited Ark Boulton Academy as part of her Family Review. She heard from looked after children and children in temporary housing their thoughts on what is good about family, what issues there might be and how they think Government should be working with families which we shared as a podcast.
Children’s Social Care
Help at Hand
Help at Hand is the Children’s Commissioner’s free advice, advocacy and assistance service which can help young people who are in care, leaving care, living away from home or working with children’s services. The phone line can be accessed on 0800 528 0731 or via email at: [email protected] or use their online contact us form.
IMO is our website dedicated to providing a meeting point for children in the care system or care leavers. It is somewhere to share stories and experiences, give and get advice and find information on careers, training opportunities and competitions. It also has an award-winning podcast series sharing open and honest conversations with care leavers. The IMO Annual Round Up shares all the posts we’ve published over the past year.
Conversations with care leavers
The Children’s Commissioner shared a podcast with a conversation she had with care leavers across England who shared their experience of relationships in the care system and what could help develop them. It covers adjusting to the system, the formal relationships children have to build, sibling relationships including separation, and the importance of communication within these relationships.
We also invited care leavers from the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) Campaigns Youth Advisory Group to share their thoughts on our work and what can be done to improve the social care system.
Practical advice for children in care and care leavers
Over the year we have shared guides on applying to and starting university, finding support, grants, funding, discounts and career opportunities related to housing and living, Further and Higher Education, leisure activities, parenting and childcare, jobs and skills and mentoring. We have also run workshops on goal-setting.
We have also shared an experience of the Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme and supportive messages for teenagers in care and care leavers over Christmas, as well as ways for professionals working with children in care and care leavers to provide support across the year.
We shared resources for Kinship Care Week that were developed with Kinship Carers Liverpool to help raise awareness about kinship care, including this video where children speak about kinship care to improve people’s understanding: