The Health Foundation Releases its COVID-19 Inquiry Report

Please note: This resource is being hosted externally and not through ExChange Wales. Family and Community external events listings are posted to inform the wider community about external events including workshops, opportunities for families, children and young people, and helpful resources.

This post was originally posted by IWA.

Our director Auriol Miller was on the advisory board of The Health Foundations COVID-19 impact inquiry. Its report, which was launched in July 2021, found that:

  • The uneven impact of COVID-19 is mapped onto pre-existing health issues and inequalities, compounded by living conditions.
  • Geographical inequalities meant that those younger than 65 in the poorest 10% of areas in England were almost four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in the wealthiest parts of the countries, but some groups, including people from ethnic minorities, disabled people, prison inmates, were also more likely to be at a risk from the illness.
  • The aftermaths of the financial crisis impacted the UKs ability to rise to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus crisis.
  • Government action, such as self-isolation support or restrictions in service access, were impactful in redressing or aggravating the effects of the crisis: any recovery strategy must address the root causes of inequality in the face of the virus, and will require cross-government action. 

You can watch the webinar launch here.

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The impact of COVID-19 on higher education: a review of emerging evidence

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on higher education worldwide in virtually all aspects of its functioning. This analytical report provides a synthesis of the emerging evidence on what impact COVID-19 has on three specific aspects of higher education in Europe: teaching and learning; the social dimension of higher education (i.e. the effect on underrepresented, vulnerable and disadvantaged learners); and student mobility.

Drawing upon 14 rapid-response surveys carried out in 2020 by university networks, student organisations and researchers, as well as over 50 journal articles, reports and publications, the analytical report synthesises the emerging evidence and presents policy recommendations on actions to be taken at the level of higher education systems and by higher education institutions themselves.

Authors: Thomas Farnell, Ana Skledar Matijević, Ninoslav Šćukanec Schmidt

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic education report welcomed by Minister

Please note: This press release was originally posted by the Welsh Government. Family & Community external events listings are posted to inform the wider community about external events including workshops, opportunities for families, children and young people, and helpful resources.

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has accepted all of the recommendations of a report on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the new school Curriculum.

The Minister has also confirmed £500,000 will be provided to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations, as part of the delivery of the new Curriculum for Wales.

The report, by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group, chaired by Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, makes 51 recommendations in total.

The recommendations focus on a number of key areas, including improving educational resources, workforce training and professional development, and Initial Teacher Education.

The report also makes recommendations on issues such as sustainability and the importance of a ‘whole school’ approach, involving parents, governors and wider communities.

In the new curriculum, due to be taught to younger learners from 2022, the history of Wales and its diversity will be mandatory within Humanities, one of the curriculum’s six Areas of Learning and Experience. The Humanities What Matters Statement, the ‘big ideas’ and key principles in each Area, refers to a common understanding of the diverse history, cultural heritage and ethnic diversity of Wales and the wider world.

On the publication of the final report, Professor Williams said:

‘This work is unprecedented and much needed and the review represents a ground-breaking trajectory in curriculum reform in Wales. What happens in schools across Wales, the way in which they engage, take forward and sustain the concerns of this report is critically important to the wellbeing of all children and young people in Wales, to the wellbeing of those from minority backgrounds and to the wellbeing of society as a whole.

Education alone cannot address the social, cultural and structural factors that sustain racial inequality. However, education can take us a long way forward in producing the ethical and informed citizens of the future. I am confident that the proposals in this report will provide the education community with the means to address more systematically and coherently engagement with this priority area.’

In her response to the final report, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, said:

‘I am very grateful to Professor Williams and the Working Group for the report, which is thorough and thought-provoking, offering hard truths and clear recommendations. As the report states, our new curriculum can only be enriched by revealing the diversity of perspectives and contributions made by the ethnic minority communities to the development of Wales across its history and in the present.

If we are to achieve one of the core purposes of our new curriculum, to develop young people who are “ethical and informed citizens of Wales and the world”, we must ensure children’s experiences are expanded though engagement with ethnic minority perspectives, themes and contributions. I am delighted to accept all of the report’s recommendations and put financial support in place to ensure these recommendations are fully implemented.

Complementing the work of the education report, the Welsh Government will publish its Race Equality Action Plan next week, ‘An Anti-racist Wales’, which outlines the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling structural and systematic racism and create a Wales that is anti-racist by 2030.’

How Coronavirus has affected equality and human rights

This report was originally published at www.equalityhumanrights.com.

This report summarises evidence that helps us understand the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on different groups in society. It highlights potential long-term risks to equality and human rights covering key issues in the areas of:

  • Work
  • Poverty
  • Education
  • Social care
  • Justice and personal security

We make targeted recommendations for the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to ensure equality and human rights considerations are integrated into the policy response to the pandemic.

This report is part of the ‘Is Britain Fairer?’ report series.

The state of girls’ rights in the UK

Early insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on girls – Plan International

The coronavirus outbreak is continuing to sweep the globe,
causing the worst health crisis of a generation. First identified in
November 2019, it is now severely challenging many of the richest
countries in the world, with Europe and North America the current
epicentres. Cases are now rising in some of the poorest countries,
where health systems are fragile and the ability to mitigate the
economic and social consequences is limited. While children’s
health appears to be less directly impacted by coronavirus than
adults, the impact of the pandemic on children, especially girls, will
be long-lasting.

Young people leaving care, practitioners and the pandemic: Experiences, support, and lessons

Young people leaving care, practitioners and the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic: Experiences, support, and lessons for the future

In 2020, the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic significantly disrupted daily life for citizens across the UK. The four nations of the UK sought to prioritise public health and the Coronavirus Act 2020 gave new powers to devolved Governments on areas including health, education and justice (Institute for Government 2020). The ensuing ‘lockdown’, announced by the Prime Minister on the 23rd March 2020 (Gov.uk 2020), was followed by similar directives in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (Institute for Government 2020).

Debates on the necessary responses to the pandemic, together with discussions about its impact, have frequently highlighted concerns for inequalities. For example, Golightly and Holloway (2020: 637) commented that ‘some [individuals] are much better placed than others to get through this’ while Blundell et al (2020 :292) argued that the pandemic ‘will not affect all in the same way … from health to jobs and to family life … the most vulnerable groups by socio-economic background and health status are also those that may be hit the hardest”.

Compounding these concerns, COVID-19 has impacted on the delivery of social services to both adults and children (Ferguson et al 2020). Issues have been raised about maintaining support for vulnerable groups during this time, as well as responding to increased demand for mental health, domestic violence and safeguarding services (Baginsky and Manthorpe 2020).

The pandemic has prompted a flurry of research activity seeking to understand responses to COVID-19, as well as the needs and experiences of individuals both receiving and delivering social care services during these unprecedented times (Baginsky and Manthorpe 2020; Bhatia 2020; Blake-Holmes 2020; Cook and Zschomler 2020; Dafuleya 2020; Ferguson et al 2020; Henrickson 2020; Iyer et al. 2020; Lingam and Sapkal 2020; O’Sullivan et al 2020; Rambaree and Nassen 2020; Sanfelici 2020; Sengupta and Jha 2020; The Fostering Network 2020; Walter-McCabe 2020). This research project predominantly focused on the Welsh context and aims to contribute to this emerging body of evidence, with a specific focus on the needs, support and experiences of young people leaving local authority care. 

The Coronavirus Pandemic: Care leavers and practitioners sharing experiences and lessons

The Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic: Young People leaving care and practitioners share their experiences and lessons for the future

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has had a major impact across the world, with a disproportional impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. This research study was designed to contribute to the emerging evidence base exploring both the receipt and delivery of social care support during this period.

The research study was funded by Voices from Care Cymru and CASCADE: Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre. It offered a platform for the views of 21 care experienced young who provided vivid and detailed accounts of their experiences of lockdown. The inclusion of a professional survey with 23 participants enabled consideration of local initiatives providing a valuable backdrop for analysis of young people’s accounts. The study therefore provides important learning for policy makers, social care managers and front-line practitioners who work with care experienced young people and other vulnerable groups.

Encouragingly, the study revealed positive attempts to adapt to the unprecedented working conditions. It was noteworthy that the professionals who responded to our survey were positive about the support that they had provided to care leavers. Efforts to maintain communication with young people, combat loneliness, isolation and boredom, as well as ensure access to resources demonstrated good practice. However, it was noted that efforts to respond to the needs of young people were constrained by the absence of additional funding.

The perspectives of young people sometimes stood in sharp contrast to those of professionals and concerns remain about parity of support within and across areas, and the alignment between support needs and available provision. Our findings did not suggest consultation and inclusion of young people in decision making about new ways of working, and the focus appeared to be on immediate and short-term crisis needs, as opposed to transition planning or taking a rights-based approach. Of particular concern were reports of young people anxious about basic provisions, living in inappropriate accommodation and struggling with absence of mental health support.

However, despite these issues young people valued contact from social workers and social care professionals and positioned this as essential in the COVID-19 pandemic, as illustrated in this poem from one of the care-experienced young people who participated in the study:

Times have changed, time is passing,
But our need for you to care is not lapsing,
We may whinge and shout and say we don’t want,
But we do, we really want you to.
We are isolated, changed and really not sure,
We need that face, the one we say we dislike
we need those texts that we never reply to,
We need the language that you share, they hey,
`how are you doing, I am still here’,
This is the real language that cares, the language we need,
The language which shows us not everything has changed,
The language that comforts us, like a weird aunt would send
Which would make us cringe, and smile,
A smile which means something hasn’t changed
-the language you use to show us you care.

You can also watch the Care Leavers and Coronavirus film about the key findings:

We would be pleased to hear from you with any feedback, comments, or suggestions:

Louise Roberts, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University RobertsL18@cardiff.ac.uk @DrLouiseRoberts

References

Roberts, L., Rees, A., Bayfield, H., Corliss, C., Diaz, C., Mannay, D. and Vaughan, R. 2020. Young people leaving care, practitioners, and the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic: experiences, support, and lessons for the future. Cardiff: Cardiff University.

Children looked after in Wales

On 31st March 2019, there were 6,845 children looked after in Wales, a further increase of 440 compared to the previous year. As a result, the gap between the rate of children looked after in Wales compared to other parts of the UK has continued to widen.

Within Wales, while most Local Authorities have seen a rise in both the number and rate of children looked after, there is significant variation; and some have seen the rate of children looked after fall since 2014. Using published data, this series of briefings explores what we can say about the factors that are driving these trends and updates the earlier report Analysis of Factors Contributing to Higher Rates of Care in Wales.

  1. Children looked after in Wales: Trends
  2. Children looked after in Wales: Factors contributing to variation in rates
  3. Children looked after in Wales: Flows into and out of care

This post was originally posted by the Wales Centre for Public Policy.

Health

The following research and reviews of practice are related to topics in health:

2020

A follow-up report on the step change needed in emotional and mental health support for children and young people in Wales.

2019

McDonagh, D., Connolly, N., & Devaney, C. (2019). “Bury don’t discuss”: The help-seeking behaviour of family members affected by substance-use disorders. Child Care in Practice, 25(2), 175-188.

KEYWORDS: Substance-use disorder, family members, support

Stone, J and Hirsch (2019). Local indicators of child poverty, 2017/18 Summary of estimates of child poverty in small areas of Great Britain, 2017/18.

The Bevan Foundation (2019). Kids on the breadline: solutions to holiday hunger.

2018

Grant, A., Morgan, M., Gallagher, D. and Mannay, D., 2018. Smoking during pregnancy, stigma and secrets: Visual methods exploration in the UK. Women and Birth.

Keywords: Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Health, Pregnancy, Smoking, Socioeconomic factors, Tobacco.

Mannay, D., Creaghan, J., Gallagher, D., Marzella, R., Mason, S., Morgan, M. and Grant, A., 2018. Negotiating closed doors and constraining deadlines: the potential of visual ethnography to effectually explore private and public spaces of motherhood and parenting. Journal of contemporary ethnography, 47(6), p.758.

Keywords: visual methods, photo elicitation, motherhood, home, fieldwork

Childcare

The following research and reviews of practice are related to topics in childcare:

2018

Holloway, S. L., & Pimlott‐Wilson, H. (2018). Reconceptualising play: Balancing childcare, extra‐curricular activities and free play in contemporary childhoods. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 43(3), 420-434.

Keywords: after school activities, class, geography of play, working mother, work–life balance, wraparound care