Millions of children across England will be given the chance to share their hopes for a post-pandemic future in a landmark review backed by footballer Marcus Rashford.
The new children’s commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has launched The Big Ask – the biggest ever consultation with children undertaken in England.
The results will inform a review, titled the Childhood Commission, which aims to identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their full potential, propose solutions and set targets to monitor improvements.
It is inspired by the ambition of William Beveridge’s report in the 1940s, which laid the foundations of the country’s welfare state.
The online survey will run from April 19 to May 19, with all responses anonymous and questions tailored to different age groups.
Children will be asked how happy they are about aspects of their lives, and what they think stops children achieving what they want to achieve when they grow up.
It will be made available to every school and via the Oak National Academy for children who are learning from home.
It will be accompanied by an online assembly introduced by Rashford, 23, who has spent the past year campaigning to end child food poverty.
The survey will also be distributed to youth groups, local authorities, charities who work with children and young people, Children in Care councils, children’s homes, children’s mental health services, youth justice settings and community groups.
There will be focus groups for children with special educational needs, disabilities or other complex needs, and focus groups to ensure the experience of babies and pre-school children is captured.
Dame Rachel will visit schools across the country to hear first-hand from children about their experiences of the coronavirus pandemic and hopes for the future.
She said: “It is time to give something back to children after the huge sacrifices they have made during the Covid pandemic. The Big Ask will ask millions of children in England to tell us what life is like for them, what their hopes and ambitions are, and what is holding them back.
“I hope that every parent and carer, every teacher and anyone who works with children will encourage children to take part in this big, exciting opportunity.
“I want The Big Ask to be the biggest survey of children ever carried out in this country so that we can better understand what children want from the people in power and those who make decisions about their lives.
“What children tell us will be at the heart of my Childhood Commission and ‘Beveridge-style’ blueprint for Government and others to tackle some of the generational problems that have held back too many children for decades.”