The Covid pandemic has shone a spotlight on some of the major structural barriers that exist today which hold our children back. In the wake of this crisis, we have reached a pivotal moment when as a country we can take stock of where we are now, understand the impact of the pandemic on children’s lives and build a consensus around the vision and ambition needed to ensure children in England have a good childhood and reach their full potential.
Now is the time to come together and to build back better for our children. That’s why today I am launching the Childhood Commission.
The prospects and welfare of children must be put at the heart of our economic recovery and the Commission will show the way to do this. I want it to have the spirit and the ambition of the Beveridge Report – something that leads to long term changes that improve the chances of every single child, whatever their early standing in life and wherever they are in England. We will re-cast Beveridge’s ‘five giants’ for children today, identifying the barriers which prevent them having the best childhoods, the best preparation for successful futures, and a better life than their parents. It will not focus only on the problems that have been highlighted and amplified by the Covid pandemic but will also address the policy shortfalls that have held back the lives of many children for decades. It will propose bold and radical solutions with measurable impact on children’s lives, and ambitious targets by which Government and local agencies can be held to account for progress.
And at the heart of this we must listen to children. ‘The Big Ask’ will be the largest ever consultation with children in this country. We want to hear from children from every background about how the pandemic has affected them, their hopes and ambitions for the future, and to hear what is holding them back. We will put children’s voices at the centre of the Commission. Their views and experiences and ideas will help shape the way we deliver better outcomes not just for them, but for all our children in the decade ahead.