Statement: Child Protection and School Reopening

Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner, has spoken in today’s Daily Record about the issue of child protection following the reopening of schools:

“Since the first lockdown and throughout we have consistently raised concerns about the impacts on children’s rights of them being away from school, early learning and childcare settings, sports and cultural clubs, and wider community supports, including the right to be kept safe from harm. Being visible to trusted adults in schools and other community settings is an essential part of supporting families and keeping children safe. Our Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment published in July 2020 focused on the risks to children when they were away from those supports.

“Schools and early years and childcare play a significant role in children’s lives that goes far beyond learning; they are also places of safety and support for many children. The pandemic has deeply affected families who have been under increasing pressure through loss of income, the impact of poverty, bereavement, and the toll the past 18 months has had on mental and physical health.  Those children whose rights were most at risk before the pandemic have been disproportionately affected by it.

“Protecting children at immediate risk of harm is essential and the Scottish Government must ensure that sufficient resource is made available to help children and families who need additional supports around them. This includes ensuring that the skilled professionals in our schools and early years and childcare have the time to build trusting relationships with children.”

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