8 June, 2021
Students at Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy (OSCA) were excited to meet with Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza when she visited the academy to hear about what they’d been up to and get their views on what matters most to young people.
Rachel spoke with students about how they’ve found the past year, with students opening up about the challenges they faced during lockdown and what’s most important to them as they look towards the future. Students gave Rachel their points of view on what she should be focusing on in her role as Children’s Commissioner, highlighting issues around mental health and careers guidance.
Rachel also got to hear from students at OSCA about the OAT student leadership teams, which OSCA is a part of. OAT recently held online elections to create Regional Student Leadership Teams throughout its 40 academies across the country.
The Regional Student Leadership Teams identify key campaign areas, which they then feed into a National Student Leadership Team to encourage change on a national level, while allowing every child to have their voice heard. The West Student Leadership Team, which OSCA is a part of, has identified the key campaigns it wants to work on as mental health, LGBTQ+ issues and first aid training.
Student Leadership Teams had also been working recently on promoting “The Big Ask”, which was a children’s consultation ran by the Children’s Commissioner in order to identify barriers children faced, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The teams helped to boost the survey by sending out various promotional materials, putting it as an agenda point at all school council meetings, and ensuring students were given time to respond to the survey in PHSE lessons and form time.
Overall, it was a really great visit that gave students and staff at OSCA a chance to share their thoughts with Rachel and hear from her on the work her office is doing to support young people during this time.
Principal at Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy, Faye Cutler, said:
“It was an honour to host Rachel at OSCA, and I know the students really appreciated her taking the time to meet with them and hear their ideas.
“At OSCA we encourage our students to be invested in wider issues that impact them, their peers, and their community, and they are all passionate about helping to affect positive change. Getting to speak to Rachel and discuss these topics is invaluable, and I know will help to inspire many of our young people to continue to speak up about what matters to them.”