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Thousands of children and young people share views on Covid-19

28 May 2020

A total of 2,105 children and young people in Jersey have shared their thoughts and feelings about the coronavirus pandemic, in a confidential survey, jointly commissioned by the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills and the Children’s Commissioner.

Children and young people completing the survey were asked questions relating to their family and environment, education and resources, physical and mental health, and their rights. 

Children and young people also shared their thoughts and feelings on a range of topics, from the impact coronavirus has had on their friendships to their experiences of home learning and returning to school. 

The main headline findings of the survey reveal that:
  • almost half (48%) of children stated that they were feeling worried 
  • more than 80% of children said that they missed their friends
  • around 95% of children felt safe at home, but a small number expressed concerns relating to covid-19, home life, or wellbeing  
  • a small number also stated that family life was a worry with a very small number concerned about domestic violence, alcohol use in the household and overcrowded housing 
  • about one in three children expressed some sort of concern, such as anxiety, sadness, or safety concerns 
  • of these, anxiety was most common, affecting around 10% for primary children and 15-20% for older children
  • younger children were more likely to express sadness about going back to school.
  • around 8% of children of any age mentioned safety concerns. Given Jersey’s school population, the data experts say this equates to around 2,000 children experiencing anxiety and 1,000 having safety concerns 
  • 70% of children and young people knew who to reach out to for support 
  • they stated they would speak to teachers, support services at Highland College, and Youth Workers and the Youth Enquiry Service.
Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois said: “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the 2,105 children and young people in Jersey who completed the survey.

“Officers and the Commissioner are continuing to work through the comprehensive survey, which we estimate contains more than 300,000 words from our children and young people.

“I know this will be a worrying time for students and parents and we have taken into account the views expressed by children and young people on how they feel about returning to school. As a result of these views, I have asked officials to ensure that a wellbeing package is prepared and offered to children returning to school, as well as a campaign, with child-friendly messages, to help improve confidence and encourage children to take those first steps back to school. We have also provided further support for our children through our new Learning At Home website."

The Children’s Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, said: “We launched this survey as we wanted to understand how children and young people were feeling during this uncertain and worrying time. We can now understand the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their lives. A total of 2,105 children and young people responded to the survey with lots of extremely articulate responses. But at the same time, it also highlighted some concerning reading too. We have heard directly from children and young people about their experiences and we will ensure that we listen and respond to their experiences.”

The Children’s Commissioner, Deborah McMillan, said: “Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to all the children and young people who took part in the survey, and to all those who supported them. Your voices have been heard and are being taking seriously, and the points you have raised are a valuable contribution to the work of my office.

“I was struck not only by how perceptive your responses were but also by how much kindness and empathy they showed. So many of you told us that they you were worried about friends and family, as well as about yourselves. 

“Education was a big theme too, both in terms of worries about missed time in the classroom and also the excitement and trepidation about the return to school.

“As Children’s Commissioner, I will continue to monitor the way that the Government supports you and respects your rights. I will make sure that you have time to adapt to each stage of this process as it happens, and that you have all the help and information you need along the way.”

Read the full survey here.
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