The Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee is today outlining the key steps that need to be taken to support children and young people in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Committee has looked in detail at the impact of the pandemic on the lives of children and young people, gathering evidence from experts as well as children and young people, and drawing up a list of recommendations.
The Committee found that the impact on our children and young people has been significant. It believes that every opportunity should be taken to support our children and young people as we emerge from the pandemic, and to ensure that their well-being is at the heart of all recovery planning.
In its last few weeks before the Senedd Election, the Committee has prioritised the impact of COVID-19 restrictions and is setting out what it believes should be the priorities for the next Welsh Government and Senedd.
The recommendations are focusing on statutory education; the mental and physical health of children and young people; further and higher education and vulnerable children and young people.
Key recommendations in the Committee’s report include:
- Ensuring that children and young people’s well-being and education is at the centre of all recovery planning
- Supporting progress among both vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people, including those eligible for free school meals (eFSM), children from other low income households, those with Additional Learning Needs, young carers, care experienced children, and learners educated other than at school.
- Increasing opportunities for physical activity for children and young people, in communities and within schools, to maximise physical and mental health benefits
- Preparing for, and funding, the response to any further disruption to education (including HE and FE) from COVID-19, including any future need for remote teaching, learning lessons from the past twelve months.
Lynne Neagle MS, Chair of the Children, Young People and Education Committee said:
“COVID-19 has disrupted us all more than anything else we’ve seen in our lifetimes, but the impact on our children and young people has been particularly significant. We want to make sure that every opportunity is taken to support our children and young people as we all emerge from this pandemic, and to ensure that their well-being is at the heart of all recovery planning.
“As a Committee, we have prioritised examining the impact of the pandemic on our children and young people since March last year. As we near the end of our term, and one year since the first lockdown began, seeking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our children and young people has been our top priority.
“We’ve listened to invaluable evidence from children and young people who have lived through the challenges, and other experts and professionals who have worked with them. Our report provides recommendations for the next Senedd and Welsh Government that will put children and young people’s well-being at the centre of the COVID-19 recovery.”