Y Pwyllgor Plant, Pobl Ifanc ac Addysg - Y Bumed Senedd
Children, Young People and Education Committee - Fifth Senedd20/11/2019
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Dawn Bowden AM|
|Hefin David AM|
|Janet Finch-Saunders AM|
|Lynne Neagle AM||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Sian Gwenllian AM|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Betsan Roberts||Aelod o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru dros Ogledd Caerdydd|
|Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Cardiff North|
|Dai Lloyd AM||Yn bresennol fel Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor Iechyd, Gofal Cymdeithasol a Chwaraeon|
|In attendance as Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee|
|Ffion Griffith||Aelod o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru dros Islwyn|
|Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Islwyn|
|Maisy Evans||Aelod o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru dros Dorfaen|
|Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Torfaen|
|Todd Murray||Aelod o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru dros Ben-y-bont ar Ogwr|
|Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Bridgend|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Sarah Bartlett||Dirprwy Glerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.
The meeting began at 09:30.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Children, Youth People and Education Committee. I've received apologies for absence from Suzy Davies. Can I ask Members if there are any declarations of interest, please? No. Okay, thank you.
We'll move on then to item 2, which is our session with Members of the Welsh Young Parliament. Today, of course, is the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child for signatories. And to mark this occasion, we are delighted to be joined by Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament who are going to update us on their progress with their Parliament's three main priorities, and also update us on the work that they've done to inform this committee's inquiry on children's rights.
As a committee, we are particularly proud to see our National Assembly deliver on the 2016 recommendation from the United Nations that a youth parliament be established in Wales. So, it is absolutely fitting that we will celebrate this important anniversary with our colleagues from the Welsh Youth Parliament.
So, I'd like to welcome this morning, Betsan Angell Roberts, Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Cardiff North; Todd Murray, Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Bridgend; Ffion Griffith, Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Islwyn; and Maisy Evans, Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Torfaen.
What we're going to do this morning is touch on each of the Welsh Youth Parliament's three key priorities, receiving an update on each, and then a chance for Members to ask some questions. And then we're going to move on to talk about our children's rights inquiry and the work that's being done to ensure that children and young people's voices are clearly heard as part of that inquiry.
Just before we move on to the priorities, I'm very conscious, of course, that the work of the Welsh Youth Parliament is relevant to all committees in the Assembly, not just ours, and with that in mind, I'm delighted that Dai Lloyd, Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, is able to join us today. Welcome, Dai, and thank you for coming.
Okay, so the first priority, then, we're going to discuss is life skills in the curriculum. Betsan, would you like to update us on the work of the Welsh Youth Parliament in this area?
Yn gyntaf, hoffwn ddiolch o galon i chi am y gwahoddiad yma heddiw i'ch diweddaru ar ein gwaith. Mae gwaith y Senedd Ieuenctid dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf yn profi bod lleisiau pobl ifanc yn cael eu cymryd o ddifri yma yng Nghymru, a bod erthygl 12 Confensiwn y Cenhedloedd Unedig ar Hawliau'r Plentyn wedi'i gwireddu, sef yr hawl i gael ein clywed a'n cymryd o ddifri. Addas iawn, felly, yw bod yma ar 30 mlwyddiant y confensiwn i sôn am ein gwaith.
Lai na mis yn ôl, yn ein hail gyfarfod llawn yn y Siambr, cyflwynais i ag aelodau eraill y pwyllgor sgiliau bywyd yn y cwricwlwm ganfyddiadau ein hymgynghoriad. Mae copi o’r adroddiad, sef adroddiad cyntaf erioed Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru, yma i chi ei ddarllen. Dyma ganlyniad misoedd o waith ymgynghori â phobl ifanc, athrawon, rhieni, gweithwyr ieuenctid ac arbenigwyr addysg.
Fel y gwyddoch, sgiliau bywyd yn y cwricwlwm yw un o dair blaenoriaeth y Senedd Ieuenctid yn dilyn ein cyfarfod preswyl cyntaf fis Chwefror. Penderfynwyd blaenoriaethu ein gwaith ni fel pwyllgor er mwyn ein galluogi i fwydo syniadau ac argymhellion i'r cwricwlwm newydd i Gymru. Mae sgiliau bywyd yn bwnc pwysig iawn i ni gan fod diffyg addysg arnynt yn ein cwricwlwm presennol, o addysg ariannol i addysg wleidyddol ac addysg am amrywiaeth a chynhwysiant. Mae angen y sgiliau hyn ar bobl ifanc er mwyn datblygu dinasyddion cyfrifol, ac mae'n annheg bod pobl ifanc yn cael eu hamddifadu o'r sgiliau hyn ar hyn o bryd.
Wedi misoedd o ymgynghori, a gwaith dadansoddi data yn ein cyfarfodydd rhanbarthol ym mis Medi, lluniom ni fel pwyllgor 13 argymhelliad i Lywodraeth Cymru, a fyddai, ym marn y pwyllgor, yn sicrhau cysondeb yn y ddarpariaeth o sgiliau bywyd mewn ysgolion ledled Cymru. Mae'r rhestr ar gael yn ei chyfanwaith yn yr adroddiad, ond hoffwn rannu'r tri phrif argymhelliad a gododd yn rheolaidd yn ein trafodaethau.
Daeth yn amlwg wrth ymgynghori â phobl ifanc dros Gymru fod profiadau o ddysgu sgiliau bywyd yn amrywio o berson i berson—anghysondeb oedd yn peri gofid mawr i ni fel pwyllgor. Pryderus oedd dysgu mai dim ond 10 y cant o bobl oedd wedi cael addysg am wleidyddiaeth Cymru—pobl ifanc fydd bellach yn gymwys i bleidleisio ymhen blwyddyn a hanner. Yn gyntaf, felly, cytunwn fel pwyllgor y dylid llunio manyleb sgiliau bywyd cyson, dros Gymru gyfan, sy'n cynnwys yr holl sgiliau bywyd craidd, wedi eu mapio ar draws y cyfnod allweddol priodol, ac sy'n ystyried unrhyw anghenion dysgu.
Patrwm arall a ddaeth i'r amlwg yn ein hymgynghoriad oedd nad oedd pobl ifanc yn dysgu'r sgiliau bywyd yr oedden nhw'n eu gweld yn bwysig, fel achub bywyd a delio â straen. Roedd galw mawr am y gwersi hyn, ond nifer fach iawn o bobl sydd wedi eu derbyn ar hyn o bryd. Cytunom fel pwyllgor fod gwersi fel diogelwch ar y we yn aml wedi dyddio, ac yn cael eu hailadrodd yn ormodol. Felly dim syndod oedd inni ddarganfod mai dyma oedd y pwnc pwysicaf i oedolion. Ein hail argymhelliad, felly, yw y dylai pobl ifanc a gweithwyr addysg lunio'r fanyleb hon ar y cyd. Ni fydden nhw'n canolbwyntio ar sgiliau sylfaenol dydd i ddydd yn unig, ond ar sut i fyw bywyd llawn ac iach.
Gofynnom hefyd pa mor aml yr oedd pobl ifanc yn derbyn gwersi sgiliau bywyd mewn ysgolion a cholegau. Amlygwyd anghysondeb unwaith eto, gyda rhai yn derbyn sgiliau wythnosol, ac eraill yn derbyn gwersi unwaith bob hanner tymor. Deallwn fel pwyllgor fod sawl ffordd o fewngorffori'r gwersi hyn i brofiad addysgol—gwersi penodol ar amserlen, diwrnodau addysg bersonol a chymdeithasol achlysurol, a dysgu'r sgiliau o fewn pynciau sy'n bodoli'n barod. Ein trydydd argymhelliad, felly, yw y dylid penodi cyd-gysylltydd sgiliau bywyd ymhob ysgol. Byddai'r cyd-gysylltydd yn gyfrifol am fapio'r sgiliau craidd ar draws cwricwlwm yr ysgol, gan sicrhau bod pob disgybl yn cael yr un profiadau, a hynny'n unol â'r fanyleb sgiliau bywyd.
Rydym ni fel pwyllgor yn ffodus iawn o'r sefyllfa unigryw ein bod wedi gorffen ein gwaith ymgynghori, ac wedi cyhoeddi ein hadroddiad, gyda blwyddyn arall i fynd cyn diwedd ein cyfnod fel Aelodau. Er bod cyhoeddi'r adroddiad yn nodi diwedd misoedd o waith ymgynghori, megis dechrau rydym ni mewn gwirionedd. Dros y flwyddyn nesaf, edrychwn ymlaen at ddilyn eich esiampl dda chi fel pwyllgor, a dwyn Llywodraeth Cymru i gyfrif ar ein hargymhellion. Ac rydym yn gobeithio'n fawr gweld ffrwyth ein gwaith wedi ei adlewyrchu yn y cwricwlwm newydd i Gymru yn y blynyddoedd nesaf.
First of all, a heartfelt thanks to you for the invitation to be here today to update you on our work. The Welsh Youth Parliament's work over the last year has proven that young people's voices are being taken seriously here in Wales, and that article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been realised, which is the right to be heard and be taken seriously. It's very appropriate, therefore, to be here on the thirtieth anniversary of the convention to talk about our work.
Less than a month ago, in our second plenary session in the Chamber, I and other members of the life skills in the curriculum committee presented the results of our consultation. A copy of the report, which is the first ever report of the Welsh Youth Parliament, is here for you to read. This is the result of months of consultative work with young people, teachers, parents, youth workers and educational professionals.
As you know, life skills in the curriculum is one of the three priorities of the Youth Parliament following our first residential course in February. We decided to prioritise our work as a committee in order to enable us to feed ideas and recommendations into the new curriculum for Wales. Life skills is a very important subject to us because there is a lack of focus on them in the current curriculum, from financial education to political education and education on diversity and inclusion. These skills are required for young people to develop into responsible citizens, and it's unfair that young people are being deprived of these skills currently.
Following months of consultation, and analysing the data in our regional meetings in September, as a committee we drew up 13 recommendations to the Welsh Government, which would, in the committee's view, ensure consistency in the provision of life skills in schools across Wales. The list is the report as a whole, but I would like to share three main recommendations that arose regularly in our discussions.
It became clear in consulting with young people all over Wales that their experiences of learning life skills differed between different people—this inconsistency was of grave concern to us as committee. It was very concerning to learn that only 10 per cent of people had had education about Welsh politics—these young people will be eligible to vote in a year and a half. So, first of all, we agreed that the committee should draw up a life skills specification, across Wales, and this would include all core life skills.
Another pattern that became apparent in our consultation was that young people weren't learning the life skills that they felt were important, such as life-saving and dealing with stress. There was great demand for these lessons, but only a small number of young people have received these at the moment. We agreed as a committee that internet safety lessons, for example, were quite often dated, and were being repeated too much. So, it was no surprise for us to discover that this was the most important subject for adults. Our second recommendation, therefore, was that young people and education professionals should draw up this specification jointly. They shouldn't concentrate on basic skills only, but on living full lives and healthy lives.
We also asked how frequent these young people received life skills lessons in schools and colleges. Again, there was inconsistency, with some receiving weekly lessons, and others having lessons every half-term. We understand as a committee that there are many ways of incorporating these lessons into the education experience—specific lessons on the timetable, occasional personal and social education lessons, and teaching skills within existing subjects. Our third recommendation, therefore, is that a life skills co-ordinator should be appointed in every school. This co-ordinator would be responsible for mapping the core skills across the school, ensuring that every pupil had the same experiences, and in line with the life skills specification.
As a committee, we're very fortunate that we have finished our consultation work, and published our report, with another year to go before the end of our time as Members. Even though publishing the report is the end of months of consultation work, we're only beginning, in a way. Over the next year, we look forward to following your good example as a committee, and holding the Welsh Government to account on our recommendations. And we very much hope to see the fruits of our labour reflected in the new curriculum for Wales in the next years.
Thank you very much, Betsan. That was a really helpful update. So, I'd like to ask Members now to ask their questions. We've got a question from Siân Gwenllian first.
Croeso i'r pedwar ohonoch chi yma, a llongyfarchiadau i chi ar fod yn Aelodau o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru—y Senedd gyntaf, ac wedyn rydych chi'n hanesyddol.
Mi fues i yn eich cyfarfod chi yn Wrecsam, pan oeddech chi'n trafod, yn ymgynghori, ar y mater yma. Ac efallai yr hoffwn i wybod beth oeddech chi'n ei weld oedd fwyaf anodd wrth edrych ar y mater sgiliau bywyd. Ac wedyn, sut wnaethoch chi benderfynu beth i'w roi yn eich adroddiad, a'r tri argymhelliad sydd gennych chi?
Welcome to the four of you, and congratulations on being Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament—the first Parliament, and you are historic Members.
I did meet you in Wrexham, when you were discussing and consulting on this issue. And I'd like to know what you found hardest when looking at the issue of life skills. And how did you decide what to put in your report, and the three recommendations that you have?
Wel, un o'r sialensiau mawr roeddem ni'n eu hwynebu oedd ein bod ni ddim yn dyblygu ar waith y Llywodraeth a'u hymgynghoriad ar y cwricwlwm. Felly, bwriad ein hymgynghoriad ni oedd casglu darlun o sefyllfa ABCh a sgiliau bywyd ar hyn o bryd, er mwyn codi ein pryderon gyda'r Llywodraeth wrth iddynt barhau i ddatblygu'r cwricwlwm newydd. Rhywbeth anodd arall oedd y ffaith ein bod ni mewn pedair rhanbarth, ar draws Cymru, felly doedd hi ddim yn hawdd cwrdd fel pwyllgor cyfan. Yr ateb? Technoleg—gweithio o fewn ein rhanbarthau, ac yna defnyddio Microsoft Teams i bleidleisio a dod i gonsensws ar yr argymhellion.
Mae'r ymateb i'r ymgynghoriad wedi bod yn wych—dros 2,000 o ymatebion i'r holiadur, a channoedd o bobl mewn grwpiau ffocws dros Gymru. Sialens oedd gwneud pen a chynffon o'r holl ddata, a phenderfynu beth oedd yn addas a phwysig i'w flaenoriaethu. Ond dod at ei gilydd yn eithaf hawdd yn y pen draw wnaeth yr argymhellion, gan eu bod nhw wedi codi'n gyson fel rhan o bob thema.
Roedd angen sicrhau ein bod ni'n rhoi cyfle i bawb ymateb, wrth ystyried lleoliad y tîm Senedd Ieuenctid dros gyfnod yr haf, a thargedu ardaloedd nad oeddem ni'n mynd iddyn nhw ar gyfer digwyddiadau rhanbarthol. Felly, penderfynom ni ar Abertawe a Wrecsam yn y diwedd. Dyma'r tro cyntaf erioed i hyn ddigwydd, felly doedd dim templed na strwythur o beth ddylai'r ymgynghoriad na'r adroddiad edrych fel. Felly, roedd angen i'n gwaith ni fod yn dda, gan ei fod o'n arwain y ffordd i bwyllgorau eraill—no pressure. [Chwerthin.] Er yr holl anawsterau, profiad anhygoel oedd yr holl beth.
Well, one of the big challenges that we had was that we needed to ensure that we weren't duplicating the Government's work and their consultation on the curriculum. So, the intention of our consultation was to find a picture of the PSE and life skills position at the moment, in order to raise our concerns with the Government as it was developing its curriculum. Another issue as well was that we were in four regions across Wales, so it wasn't easy to meet as a committee. The answer was technology—working within our regions, and then using Microsoft Teams to come together and think of a consensus on recommendations.
The response to the consultation has been excellent—over 2,000 responses to the survey, and hundreds of people in focus groups across Wales. The challenge was understanding all the data, deciding what was appropriate and important to be included. But it did come together quite easily in the end, because these recommendations were raised consistently in every theme.
We needed to ensure everybody had a chance to respond, in considering the Youth Parliament team's location over the summer, and targeting areas that we hadn't been to for events to be held in regions. So, we decided on Swansea and Wrexham in the end. This is the first time ever that this has happened, so there was no template or structure of what the consultation or the report should look like. So, our work needed to be good, because it was leading the way for other committees—no pressure. [Laughter.] Despite all the difficulties, it was a fantastic experience.
Okay, thank you. Can I ask a question as well? Betsan, you said that you're planning on holding the Government to account for their response to your recommendations. Can you just tell us how they've responded so far?
Hoffwn i ddiolch i'r Gweinidog Addysg am roi ei hamser ac am ei holl gefnogaeth, gan hefyd roi cyfle i ni ofyn pedwar cwestiwn. Er ein gwerthfawrogiad, dipyn yn siomedig oeddem fel pwyllgor, gan i lawer ohonom deimlo bod ein cwestiynau wedi eu hosgoi, a bod un o'r prif argymhellion wedi cael ei anwybyddu'n llwyr, er enghraifft yr un lle roeddem yn gofyn am fanyleb. Bu iddi osgoi hwnnw. Felly, hoffwn i pe byddem yn cael bach mwy o drafodaeth am honna. Ond roeddem i gyd yn gefnogol iawn o'r syniad o greu rhyw fath o gymhwyster i athrawon ABCh penodol.
I'd like to thank the Minister for Education for giving her time and for all her support and also providing us with an opportunity to ask four questions. Despite our appreciation, we were quite disappointed as a committee, as many of us felt that our questions had been avoided, and that one of our main recommendations had been totally ignored, for example where we were asking for a specification. That was avoided. So, I'd like to have a little bit more discussion about that. But we were all very supportive of the idea of creating some sort of qualification for specific PSE teachers.
Okay, thank you very much. Thank you, Betsan.
We're going to move on now, then, to the second priority of the Welsh Youth Parliament, which is littering and plastic waste. Todd, can I ask you to update us on the work to date in this area?
Yes. As part of the team that presented a summary of our work so far in the Siambr to our fellow Youth Parliament Members—that was on Friday, 25 October—during the October half-term at our residential, we went to committee room 3, with representatives from the rest of my committee, and met with some guests who we asked to come in. These were Professor Wouter Poortinga from Cardiff University, who is a climate psychologist; Ella Daish, a campaigner for End Period Plastic; Alwen Marshall from Iechyd Da, which is a plastic-free vegan shop in Whitchurch in Cardiff, so she runs that as her own business and is a plastic-free entrepreneur; Luisa Pastore from WRAP Cymru, which is a charity that is trying to raise awareness of single-use plastics; and Lorna Collinson from Cardiff Council, and she is the head of initiative in Cardiff Council, basically to end littering and to get better at how Cardiff Council is recycling.
We asked our guests questions and we're planning to take this information along with our own research to decide on our campaign and our terms of reference. At this point, our main areas of interest are to work with schools to educate on—. There are different proposals on the banning of single-use plastics in schools, because a couple of our Welsh Youth Parliament Members' schools have done that now, and it's been quite a successful move to ban non-essential single-use plastics in public sector buildings. We want to increase awareness amongst school pupils about the importance of recycling and what materials can and can't be recycled, because from our research, we found that a lot of the people who we spoke to are trying to recycle, but they just don't really know what can and can't be recycled. This may include a step-by-step guide to encourage schools to produce less waste and increase their recycling, because it is down to individual schools what they do with their waste.
Something else we've been discussing is proposing a plastic tax. Assembly staff are currently working with our committee to decide our next steps. So, if any of you have any insight, information or ideas, we'd like to know about them. We're also planning our consultation events. So, Betsan spoke of their consultation events in Wrexham and Swansea. Obviously, the life skills in the curriculum was a bit more time-sensitive with the new curriculum coming out, so we're a bit behind on that one, but we are currently looking at where we're going to run them—it'll be one south one and one north one most probably—and where exactly we're going to hold it and who we're going to ask to come.
Okay, thank you, that's very helpful. So, I'll go to questions from Members now, and I've got Hefin David.
Wel, fy nghwestiwn ydy: beth yw'r steps nesaf ar gyfer y gwaith hwn?
Well, my question is: what are the next steps in terms of this work?
What are the next steps—but you just said that you want us to suggest some ideas as well. Is that right?
Yes. So, our next steps—one of the bigger steps we want to take is raising awareness amongst other young people. That's one of our biggest priorities moving forward. Our issue, I think, is a lot about raising awareness and education, which I think can be done quite easily. We can learn a lot from the report by the life skills committee. We can learn what they've done and we can then adopt the structure and style of that report and the nature of their recommendations moving forward.
Our next steps are, at the moment, the consultation event, and once we've got that and we've done that and we've spoken to other young people—because we'll be inviting different schools, different youth groups, different experts on this subject—then we'll be really figuring out and planning what our next steps are.
At the moment, we know that we want an educational campaign. We want to move away from the fear factor of showing animals choking on plastic bits and the horrific images you're subjected to with a lot of the raising-awareness campaigns, and move towards a more positive message: so, trying to encourage the use of bottles that you use again and again and again, and just trying to educate rather than scare and frighten.
Okay, thank you. I've got a question from Janet Finch-Saunders now.
Thank you, Chair. Is there anything that you've learnt from the life skills in the curriculum project that has influenced how you will take this piece of work forward?
From our colleagues in the life skills in the curriculum committee, there's a lot we can learn, especially with them, like you said, being the first committee to take anything forward. We can learn from the way in which they gathered information and their research and how they presented those findings in their recommendations.
We heard in the last plenary session from members of the life skills in the curriculum committee, as well as the mental health and well-being committee, the different steps they'd taken in their own schools, which would reduce plastic waste. So, that's something that we would like to learn.
But we've realised that it is quite a different issue, in that their report to the Welsh Government is probably going to be the most impactful way for that committee to take their work forward; whereas with ours, I think we could run a campaign ourselves, as well as having help from and recommendations for the Government. We can run a campaign by ourselves alongside that, which will be educational and would be helpful. We just have to keep in mind the differences in the nature of the two issues.
So, I think there's a lot that can be learned, especially from their report and how they presented everything, but I think it's important to remember that we don't want to copy them. Obviously, they've done great work, and we don't want to just make a carbon copy of that. But we are going to learn from them and ask them for their advice when we create our report, but, yes, I think our issue is very different in the fact that we can do a lot of it as our Parliament with help from the Government, rather than just make recommendations to the Government.
Okay, thank you. That's very helpful. Thank you, Todd, for that update, which, again, was really informative for the committee.
We'll move on now, then, to the third priority of the Welsh Youth Parliament, which relates to the emotional and mental health of children and young people. Ffion, can I ask you to update us on your work in this important area?
Yes, thank you, Lynne. Article 24 states you have the right to good-quality healthcare, and article 12 states you have the right to say what you think in all matters affecting you, and for your views to be taken seriously.
It's been 30 years since the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and we've certainly seen these rights being put into place, with youth services, schools, organisations such as the Welsh Youth Parliament, and the success of the Children, Young People and Education Committee in promoting youth engagement, not only in politics but in their rights too. I am privileged to be here today on behalf of the Welsh Youth Parliament’s emotional and mental health support committee, where we definitely see these previous rights being put into place.
So, back in February of this year, two thirds of the Welsh Youth Parliament, and 36 per cent of young people voted 'mental health' as one of their key issues. And as a result of this, we formed the mental health committee, which is made up of 26 Welsh Youth Parliament Members from across Wales. Since then, we've had regional meetings where we've discussed tackling the topic, and ensuring that we complement schemes that already exist.
Common themes that have been raised in all four regions are raising awareness and training opportunities, because young people feel that these are the best ways to tackle mental health, especially with pressures on young people nowadays, such as school and social media.
In addition to the regional meetings, we've had opportunities to raise awareness about mental health through radio interviews, panel discussions, blogs and videos, in addition to talking to other young people across Wales. We've also had the fantastic opportunity to discuss with you, Lynne, and I'd just like to take this time to thank you all very much for your contribution. We understand that the work your committee does is extremely important, such as scrutinising the Welsh Government after the 'Mind over matter' report in 2018. You're certainly paving the way for bettering young people's mental health.
Moving forward from our discussions, we had our residential meeting at the end of October, where we invited local authority representatives, in addition to representatives from education, health and the National Assembly, to discuss and feed back on work that's been done in Wales surrounding mental health.
The carousel discussion worked extremely effectively to discuss work that's already being done, in addition to holding a question-and-answer session with a panel of young people. Through this, we were able to identify key issues, such as stigma, training, preventative care and communication, which will certainly help us focus our work on the emotional and mental health committee. As a result of this, we've released our questionnaire to Welsh Youth Parliament Members in order to vote on our next steps.
It's been such a privilege for me, being part of this committee—it's a topic that's extremely close to me. I see it in my peers and my friends—everyone, really—and not just young people, but older members of society too. There is a clear need for change, especially in young people, with 20 per cent of adolescents experiencing mental health problems at some time in their life. And although we already have seen movement, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and, obviously, your support, we believe the best way to move forward is, certainly, communication with the people who are most affected—us. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Ffion, and thank you for your kind words about the work of the committee, which are much appreciated. If I could start, then, by asking you: as you've already highlighted, mental health is very close to this committee's heart. Have you got any ideas how we can work together to progress these issues and how we can help you with your work?
Yes, I really think that maintaining the communication that we have had is extremely crucial to the success not only of our committee but also to bettering young people's mental health across Wales. I think that we've talked about, perhaps, developing resources with you, such as information leaflets and training courses, such as the 'meeting in a box', which we're going to talk about later—we know that that's been extremely successful and we really like the layout of that. So, developing something similar in order to support young people across Wales—. I'd just like to say that your enthusiasm and support are very much appreciated, so thank you for that.
Thank you. The next question is from Dawn Bowden.
Thank you, Chair. Good morning, Ffion—good morning, all of you. It's interesting, because I did meet with my Youth Parliament Member, Tommy Church, from Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, and we discussed this whole issue of mental health and well-being, and I know it's one of the areas that he's championing as well.
You've touched on this a little bit, but what I'd like to know is, really, how you're going to involve more children and young people in your work, because you've talked about awareness, haven't you? Certainly, from the discussions that I've had with young people in my constituency, I don't think that there's enough awareness amongst young people themselves. So, maybe there's awareness among people at our level, but, actually, the people that it's going to impact on the most—. So, how do you think you might address that?
Living in a digital age, we definitely think that using social media to raise awareness of mental health amongst young people and the work of the committee is definitely a good way to move forward, in addition to developing schemes that can be used in schools across Wales.
One of the challenges we've faced as a Youth Parliament is communicating with each other, being across Wales. Of course, then, I can see why it might be a difficulty feeding this information back. But we definitely think, through schemes and social media, we'll be able to reach as many young people as possible so that they are aware of what we're doing and also aware of mental health itself as a topic.
Sure, and then feeding back to you their views.
Yes, definitely. I think we'd also like—. We've talked about—. As we've had these days where we've done a consultation on life skills, we're going to have one on littering and plastic waste. We'd definitely like to have one on mental health too, but with such a sensitive topic, we've had to wait a bit more and do more research on what would be included in that day without being too sensitive.
Sure. Okay, diolch yn fawr.
Okay, thank you. And I've got a question now from Dai Lloyd.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd, a diolch yn fawr am eich croeso, gan fod hwn yn bwyllgor estron i fi—diolch yn fawr. Llongyfarchiadau ar y cyflwyniad bendigedig. Y cwestiwn ydy: ar sail y gwaith rydych chi wedi ei wneud ar gymorth iechyd emosiynol ac iechyd meddwl i blant a phobl ifanc, beth allwn ni ei ddysgu ar gyfer cymorth i oedolion, ydych chi'n meddwl?
Thank you very much, Chair, and thank you very much for your welcome, given that this is a different committee to the one I usually chair, so thank you very much. Thank you for your presentation. The question is: on the basis of the work that you've done on emotional support and mental health support for children and young people, what can we learn in terms of support for adults?
We definitely think there is a lot that we can learn for supporting adults, because, of course, mental health doesn't change—it's the same whether you're three or 36 or 60; it doesn't change. Although the pressures may change, we still see that communication and raising awareness are such big things and, perhaps, being able to involve parents will also help involve young people.
We really think that just being aware that there are places to reach out to and also being aware that everyone has mental health is something that we can definitely learn, and progress, then, to supporting adults. Because I think a lot of people feel difficulty in reaching out, and they feel there's a stigma behind it—that they feel like they might be judged, or different things. But, certainly, I think that's something that we can learn from the research we've done so far on the committee. Thank you.
Okay. Well, thank you, Ffion, and thank you to all of you for updating us on the three priorities. It's been really informative for the committee and we hope that you'll be able to keep us updated. And we look forward to working with you where we can, then, to help you push forward the important and constructive suggestions that you've made.
We're going to move on now to talk about the work that Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament have undertaken to inform this committee's children's rights inquiry. As part of the inquiry, we developed a 'meeting in a box' engagement activity. This is a resource pack to empower children and young people to share their views on children's rights, followed by a short survey in order to share what was learnt and to feed into our wider inquiry. So, before I ask Maisy to speak to us about the work the Welsh Youth Parliament has done with our 'meeting in a box', we're going to watch a short video.
Dangoswyd cyflwyniad clyweledol. Mae’r trawsgrifiad mewn dyfynodau isod yn drawsgrifiad o’r cyfraniadau llafar yn y cyflwyniad.
An audio-visual presentation was shown. The transcription in quotation marks below is a transcription of the oral contributions in the presentation.
Majella O’Mahony: 'I’m Majella O’Mahony from Garth primary and I teach year 6. We were sent the resource a couple of weeks prior to doing the lesson that we did today. I thought that it was an excellent starting point for a school, if they had no prior knowledge of children’s rights, and I quite like the fact that if a school did have good knowledge, or the children were quite knowledgeable, then it was able to differentiate a little bit and give them something else that they could extend or expand upon.'
'Do you think your rights are better now compared to when you first found out about them?'
'I think I have, because I am older and more mature, so I can listen better.'
'Are there any rights the Welsh Government should be doing more about, and why? The right to relax and play?'
'Sometimes, school trips can cost some money and maybe they can’t buy them and then, they feel like their child is missing out.'
Lynne Neagle: 'We've come here to Swansea to meet with pupils from Awel y Môr School to talk about children's rights. And we have been joined by children from Ysgol Pant y Rhedyn in north Wales on the Skype link. So, we've had a really good discussion about children's rights, how much the children understand their rights, what we could do to make sure that their rights are respected more. It's been really positive and great to know how much the children understand already about children's rights in Wales.'
'When we have children, they can’t just suffocate at any time because of air pollution.'
Noah Thomas: 'I'm Noah Thomas and I'm from Port Talbot in Wales. I think the Government should look at them more and let children have a bigger say in all of the things that happen. If children don't have a say, then things will just get worse for them.'
Brook: 'I'm Brook. I think that we should have the right to live in a clean environment. Somewhere that doesn't litter, somewhere that keeps our oceans, like, good.'
I had no idea we were being filmed in Swansea. I didn't know that there was a camera there.
It's very inspiring, isn't it? It's a lovely video. So, I'm going to hand over now to Maisy to tell us a bit about the Youth Parliament's views on children's rights.
Thank you very much, Lynne.
Braint ac anrhydedd yw cael siarad yn y cyfarfod pwyllgor yma ar y diwrnod tyngedfennol hwn. Mae'n wych eich gweld chi fel Aelodau o'r Cynulliad yma i ddathlu 30 mlynedd o Gonfensiwn y Cenhedloedd Unedig ar Hawliau Pobl Ifanc.
Yng Nghymru, mae'n ddyletswydd ar y Llywodraeth a'r comisiynydd plant i ofalu dros bob person ifanc yn ôl y confensiwn yma. Yng Nghymru, mae hi'n gyfraith i hybu ac annog yr hawliau a grybwyllwyd yn yr erthyglau yn y confensiwn, a diolch byth am hynny. Mae hyn yn golygu bod pob plentyn yng Nghymru yn medru cael eu trin yn gyfartal, medru derbyn addysg safonol, medru cael preifatrwydd ac yn medru byw gan gael eu diogelu rhag perygl.
Ym mis Ebrill eleni, cefais y cyfle anhygoel i ymweld â'r Cenhedloedd Unedig wrth ymweld ag Efrog Newydd gydag Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, sy'n ysgol weithgar iawn ynghylch hawliau plant. Yn ystod gwersi, mae disgyblion o gyfnod allweddol 3 yn dysgu beth yn union yw eu hawliau a sut i sicrhau bod eraill yn gweithredu ar yr hawliau hynny. Ar ddydd Gwener, mae gwahanol grwpiau o ddisgyblion yn cwrdd am awr hawliau, sy'n bwriadu addysgu pobl ifanc am eu hawliau, yn benodol mewn grwpiau bach. Hefyd, gweler y murlun yma, sydd ar un o'n coridorau, yn weladwy i ddisgyblion, staff ac i ymwelwyr. Mi oedd yn brofiad bythgofiadwy i weld sut mae gwledydd sy'n rhan o'r Cenhedloedd Unedig yn cydweithio yn barhaus i sicrhau datblygiad a hapusrwydd ym mhob man ledled y byd.
Fel person ifanc, mae'n her i fyw mewn cymdeithas sydd mor ganolbwyntiedig ar gyrhaeddiad yn yr ysgol ac ar olwg personol. Fel person ifanc, mae'n her i weiddi'n barn a gwybod bod rhywun yno yn gwrando arnom, ac i wrando, dydw i ddim yn golygu yn eistedd yno, ond eu bod nhw'n eistedd ac yn canolbwyntio ar yr union eiriau yr ydym ni'n eu dweud, oherwydd maen nhw'n werthfawr ac maen nhw'n bwysig.
Dyma yw un o'n hawliau ni: erthygl 12, yr hawl i ddweud ein barn ynghylch yr hyn a ddylai ddigwydd pa fo oedolion yn gwneud penderfyniadau sy'n effeithio arnom ni ac i'n barn gael ei hystyried. Credaf mai dyma yw'r hawl fwyaf arwyddocaol heddiw, gan fod materion pwysig yn cael eu trafod yn rhy aml heb fewnbwn y genhedlaeth nesaf. Achos, ie, ni yw cenhedlaeth y dyfodol, ond yn bwysicaf, ni yw cenhedlaeth heddiw, ac felly dylai bawb wrando arnom ni, er ein lles ni.
Hawl arall yw ein hawl i iechyd corfforol ac iechyd meddwl da, a dyma oedd yr hawl bwysicaf i Aelodau Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru o dri rhanbarth: y de-orllewin, y canolbarth, a'r de-ddwyrain. Dyma yw'r hawl hollbwysig i bob person sy'n tyfu, a theimlaf yn falch fod y pwnc yn cael ei drafod yn aml yn y cyfryngau, mewn ysgolion ac yng nghymunedau'r wlad, ac yn enwedig ymysg Senedd Ieuenctid cyntaf Cymru.
Tua diwedd mis Medi, cynhaliais weithdy yn yr ysgol fel rhan o ymholiad y pwyllgor yma—cyfarfod mewn blwch. Mi oedd yr awr a dreuliais gyda 124 o ddisgyblion 11 a 12 oed yn ddiddorol, yn graff ac yn bwerus. Yn ystod y sesiwn, cafodd y bobl ifanc y cyfle i ddysgu am wleidyddiaeth Cymru yn gyffredinol, gan ddysgu ystyr termau megis 'Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru', 'comisiynydd plant', 'pwyllgor' a nifer fwy. Yna, atebodd bawb gwestiynau am bryd y dysgon nhw am eu hawliau, ble y dysgon nhw am eu hawliau a sut y gall y Llywodraeth wneud mwy ynghylch yr hawliau hynny. Ar ddiwedd y sesiwn, yr oedd pleidlais, ac roedd gan y bobl ifanc y cyfle i ymarfer pleidleisio am beth roedd yn bwysig iddyn nhw. Yn yr achos yma, pleidleisiodd bawb am yr hawl yr oedden nhw'n ei weld yn fwyaf pwysig. Does dim amheuaeth fod pob hawl yn bwysig i mi, ond i ddisgyblion blwyddyn 7 Gwynllyw, yr hawliau â'r nifer fwyaf o bleidleisiau oedd yr hawl i iechyd meddwl ac iechyd corfforol da a'r hawl i deimlo'n ddiogel yn yr ardal yr ydym yn byw ynddi.
Mi wnaeth y gweithdy yma a gafodd ei redeg gennyf i gychwyn trafodaethau ymysg y plant ond, yn bwysicaf, mi wnaeth gychwyn trafodaethau ymysg ein staff mai drwy godi ymwybyddiaeth y byddem ni'n gwella'r ffordd y mae plant yn cael eu diogelu a thrwy hyn y byddem yn gweld newid yn ein gwlad. Roedd darganfod am wybodaeth flaenorol y mwyafrif yn arbennig. Dyma dystiolaeth bod nifer yn ymwybodol o'r hawliau sydd ganddyn nhw a dyma dystiolaeth bod Cymru wir yn gweithredu ar yr hyn sy'n bwysig i blant. Mae Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru hefyd yn profi hyn.
Blwyddyn i mewn i'n tymor dwy flynedd ydym ni ac, ers 5 Rhagfyr flwyddyn ddiwethaf, 2018, mae bywyd wedi bod yn brysur ond yn bendant ddim yn angof, diolch i dîm Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru. Mae'r cyfleoedd rwyf wedi eu derbyn wedi bod yn unigryw ac yn fendigedig, ac edrychaf ymlaen at weld beth y mae'r flwyddyn nesaf yn cynnig i mi ac i weddill pobl ifanc Cymru, diolch i ni a diolch i chi, fel y pwyllgor yma. Diolch.
It's an honour and a privilege to be able to speak at this committee meeting on such an important day. And it's great to see you as Assembly Members here to join us in celebrating 30 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In Wales, the Government and the children's commissioner have a duty to care for all young people under this convention. In Wales, it is law to promote and encourage the rights mentioned in the articles in the convention, and thank goodness for that. This means that all children in Wales can receive equal treatment, can receive quality education, can have privacy and can live and be protected from danger.
In April this year, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the United Nations when visiting New York with Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, which is a very active school in the area of children's rights. During lessons, pupils from key stage 3 learn exactly what their rights are and how to ensure that others implement those rights. On Friday, different groups of pupils meet for a rights hour, which aims to teach children about their rights, specifically in small groups. This mural, which is in one of our corridors, is visible to pupils, staff and visitors. It was an unforgettable experience to see how other countries that are part of the UN are continually working together to ensure development and happiness everywhere around the world.
As a young person, it is a challenge to live in a society that is so focused on school achievement and on personal appearance. As a young person, it's a challenge to give voice to an opinion and to know that we are being listened to, and in terms of listening, I don't mean that they just sit there, but that they sit there and focus on the exact words that we say, because they're valuable and they're important.
This is one of our rights: article 12, the right to have our say about what should happen when adults make decisions that affect us and for our views to be taken into account. I think that this is the most significant right today, because important issues are all too often discussed without the input of the next generation. Because, yes, we are the future generation, but more importantly, we are today's generation and so everyone should listen to us, for our benefit.
Another right is our right to good physical and mental health, and that was the most important right for Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament from three regions: south-west Wales, mid Wales and south-east Wales. This is a vital right for every person growing up and I feel proud that this topic is frequently discussed in the media, in schools and in communities across the country, and particularly in the first Youth Parliament of Wales.
Towards the end of September, I held a workshop at the school as part of this committee inquiry. It was a meeting in a box. The hour that I spent with 124 children aged 11 and 12 was interesting, insightful and powerful. And during the session, the young people had the opportunity to learn about Welsh politics in general by learning the meaning of terms such as the 'National Assembly for Wales', 'children's commissioner', 'committee', and many others. Everyone then answered questions about when they learned about their rights, where they learned about their rights and how the Government can do more in the area of children's rights. At the end of the session, there was a vote and the young people had the opportunity to practise voting for what mattered to them. In this case, everyone voted for the right that they saw as most important. There is no doubt that all rights are important to me, but for year 7 pupils at Gwynllyw, the rights that garnered the most votes were the right to good mental and physical health and the right to feel safe in the area in which we live.
The workshop that I held initiated discussions among the children, but more importantly, it initiated discussions with our staff that, by raising awareness, we would improve the way children are protected and through this we would see change in our country. Finding out about the prior knowledge of the majority was very special. This is evidence that many are aware of the rights that they have, and this is evidence that Wales really does act on what matters to children. The Welsh Youth Parliament also proves this.
We are one year in to our two-year term and, since 5 December last year, 2018, life has been busy, but certainly not forgettable, thanks to the Youth Parliament team. The opportunities that I've been given have been unique and wonderful and I look forward to seeing what next year has to offer me and the rest of the young people of Wales, thanks to us and thanks to you, as a committee. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Maisy, and thank you to all your colleagues in the Welsh Youth Parliament for taking the time to share your views on our inquiry on children's rights. And, as you heard, that will be published next year, and we will certainly keep you posted about the inquiry and our findings.
Just before I bring this morning's discussions to a close, I'd just like to thank the four of you for coming here today, really. It's been incredibly useful for the committee to have the update from you on what is an historic occasion today. And I'd also like to place on record the committee's thanks to the Welsh Youth Parliament staff as well, who I know work incredibly hard. I've seen them in action, and it is busy and hectic. So thank you, too, for all the work that you are doing. It is very much appreciated.
Hearing from you today, on the thirtieth anniversary, really does demonstrate what upholding children's rights means in practice. You've got a seat at the table and a voice in the important conversations that affect you and also, very importantly, the young people who come after you. And that, for us, is what children's rights are all about and we're really grateful to you for joining us today and for leading this discussion, which has been very, very informative. So thank you to the four of you for coming. Diolch yn fawr.
We'll move on now, then, to item 3, which is papers to note. Paper to note 1 is a letter to the Minister for Economy and Transport regarding additional learning needs and transport. Paper to note 2 is a letter from the Minister for Education updating us on activity relating to the Welsh baccalaureate, following our report. Paper to note 3 is a letter to the Minister for Education regarding the Plenary debate on our report on school funding. Did I say 3 or 4 then? I've lost—
Three. Paper to note 4 is a letter to the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, regarding children's rights impact assessments, requesting a full list of completed CRIAs. Paper to note 5 is a letter from the children's commissioner to the Public Accounts Committee regarding looked-after children. Paper to note 6 is a letter from the Children's Commissioner for Wales following up on our meeting on 6 November. Paper to note 7 is a joint letter from the Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Children in Wales. And paper to note 8 is a letter from us to Welsh Government Ministers, regarding the joint statement that was issued last week on the proposed review of post-16 learner travel. Are Members happy to note those, please? Thank you very much.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod a'r cyfarfod cyfan ar 4 Rhagfyr yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting and the whole of the meeting on 4 December in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Item 4, then. Can I propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42, that the committee resolves to meet in private for the remainder of the meeting, and the whole of the meeting on 4 December? Are Members content? Thank you very much.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:11.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:11.