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New children’s commissioner promises to “rebuild childhood”

By Rachel Lawlerchildren playing children commission survey

New children’s commissioner Rachel de Souza has launched a “once-in-generation” review of childhood following the pandemic.

The survey aims to “identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their full potential”, focusing on both problems highlighted by the pandemic and long-term “policy shortfalls”.

The children’s commissioner claims its “Big Ask” will be the largest consultation ever held with children in England, asking them how the pandemic has changed their lives for the better or worse, what their aspirations are and the barriers to reaching them, how things are at home, how their communities and local environment could be improved and how they feel about the future and the challenges facing the world.

Dame Rachel de Souza commented: “My ambition is for the Childhood Review to not just reveal the barriers that are holding children back, but also to help Government and others to provide policy solutions. It will also set out metrics and targets I will be using to hold them to account.

“I want to see childhood right at the top of the Government agenda. That means every speech from the Prime Minister and Chancellor mentioning children, and every Government department constantly pushing to improve the lives of children.”

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "We warmly welcome this new initiative from the Children's Commissioner and in particular, its focus on ensuring that the needs of the child are at the heart of all relevant government policy.

"We know that all too often, decisions around education and care are not informed by the views of those directly affected by them. As such, the emphasis on capturing the voices of children and young people - and in the case of the very youngest, their parents and families - in this initiative is a very positive step forward.

"We at the Alliance look forward to working closely with the new Children's Commissioner on this important work and ensuring that the early years sector, and the children and families that we support, are fully represented going forward."