Member of the Welsh Parliament for Monmouth, Nick Ramsay, questioned the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams MS during Plenary last week on the support available to young children during the pandemic.
Nick asked the Minister: “I'm sure you'll join me in recognising the courage and resilience of our children as they return to school in what is a very worrying time for them and their parents. What thoughts have you given to providing more pastoral support and care to children in Wales, particularly in primary schools and nurseries at this time? In recent years, there's been an increasing demand for counselling services amongst schoolchildren, often discussed in this Chamber. Particularly now the COVID-19 pandemic is with us, we are seeing further disrupted children. So, how are you planning to increase counselling capacity in our schools, build resilience and support children?”
Kirsty Williams MS responded: “Like you, I am in awe of the courage and resilience that have been shown by our young people at this time. Supporting them with their mental health and their well-being is important, and that's an important reason why we were determined to reopen schools fully for all children for this academic year and to keep them open, because we understand the impact that lockdown and not being in school has had on many children.
“But, clearly, for some children, the return to school, whilst it is a happy one—they could, indeed, have anxieties as a result of the pandemic or the situation that they themselves or their families may find themselves in. That's why I have worked hard with my colleague the Minister for health to provide additional resources for school counselling this year, with a particular emphasis on being able to expand support in the primary sector, not through traditional counselling methods, which are not really appropriate for our younger children, but with a strong focus on family therapy and group work so that our youngest children can also be supported at this time.”