Building a country that works for all children post Covid-19
All communities and every aspect of children’s services have been affected by Covid-19, however, experiences have varied greatly, and for some, this period will have been exceedingly difficult and traumatic. The purpose of this short discussion paper is three-fold: to put children, young people and their lived experiences of Covid-19 front and centre in national recovery planning; to articulate what is needed to restore the public support services they rely on; and, to capture the positives and gains made during a very complex national, and indeed, global emergency. It is clear that the pandemic, ensuing lockdown and enduring social distancing measures
have simultaneously exposed and heightened the impact of stark disparities between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers, from ill-health and poor-quality housing to children’s access to technology and therefore opportunities to learn at home. Without urgent action, Covid-19 will cast a long shadow over the children, young people and families who rely on the support of schools, the health and social care system and the voluntary
sector for many years to come.
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Teenagers falling through the gaps
Covid-19 has increased many of the risks facing teenagers. Not just in terms of the epidemiological risk, but also in terms of the additional risks that the lockdown itself has created, such as an increased risk of poor mental health, exposure to domestic violence and addiction in the home, and exposure to exploitation. These risks have been exacerbated by the closures of schools, youth services, summer schemes, parks and leisure activities; reductions in mental health support; and the increased strain on families.
The effects of this will have been particularly acute on the teenagers who were already vulnerable before Covid-19, especially those who were falling through the gaps and being missed by local services. With schools closed to most teenagers for half a year, and face-to-face children’s social care provision being curbed, these teens risk becoming even more ‘invisible’ than before.
This report assesses the number of teenagers in England, and in each local area, who were already vulnerable and falling through gaps in the education and social care systems before Covid-19. The risks focused on here – such as persistent absence from school, exclusions, alternative provision, dropping out of the school system in Year 11, or going missing from care – are important signals of children at higher risk of future educational failure and unemployment, as well as of falling into crime and criminal exploitation.
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Coronavirus: Supporting Pupils' Mental Health and Well- being
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'4 simple things to help pupils readjust to school'
Pupils will need time to adapt as they go back to school after the Covid-19 lockdown, says Maureen McAteer