Views of 45,000 children used to shape policy in Sheffield over 10 years

Sheffield school pupils celebrate 10 years of the Every Child Matters survey.
Sheffield school pupils celebrate 10 years of the Every Child Matters survey.
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The views of more than 45,000 children have been used to shape policy in Sheffield since a city-wide survey began 10 years ago.

The Every Child Matters programme was set give young voices the chance to be heard, and to find out what issues were important to Sheffield's children.

Run by Sheffield Council and Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), it has now heard from more than 45,000 children. And as a result of their feedback, changes have been made in the city.

Among the issues that have been tackled are mental health, fire safety and litter.

A council spokesman said: "Over 10 years the survey has found that emotional wellbeing and mental health is important to children and young people and that mental health should be more openly discussed in school.

"As a result, working with Sheffield CCG, we have created an anti-stigma campaign, increased support in secondary schools to help with issues such as exam pressure, low-level anxiety, bullying, friendship issues and sleep, as well as reduced waiting times for specialist services.

"The survey told us that children were worried about not getting enough sleep on a school night. So working with schools and the CCG we’ve helped schools audit and check the impact of students sleep patterns on their health as well providing help and support to help young people manage stress and increase the hours of sleep pupils get on school nights."

Also as a result of feedback from children, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have put a greater emphasis on the importance of fire escape plans in their fire education programmes.

And Sheffield Young Carers have been able to provide schools with young carers with the training and resources they need.

As part of the programme, schools can apply for £100 grants to fund a project which will address something discovered through their survey results.

In the past year children at Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School collected litter in their local area using litter pickers bought with their grant.

Pupils at Firth Park Academy created a community garden in their local area.

And Angram Bank Primary School bought a fun bin for the school playground to stop children throwing litter.

To mark 10 years since the start of the survey, about a hundred school children were invited to a celebration event.

The council's cabinet member for children, young people and families Jackie Drayton said: "What a brilliant event, meeting children and young people from schools across the city who, over the past ten years along with thousands of others, have given us their views.

"The survey helps us to hear what matters to our children and young people, that their voices are heard and that we can ensure that those views make a difference to the way we deliver services.”

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