At yesterday’s (Thursday 24th June) meeting of full Council, the Children and Young People’s Annual Report gave an overview of its findings over the last 15 months, a time of uncertainty and challenges brought about by the pandemic.

The report showed encouraging findings regarding attendance in schools, with all of Monmouthshire’s schools achieving an attendance rate of over 90% since the end of May 2021, reflecting a high degree of confidence in schools and the work they are doing to keep their learners safe.

The report also demonstrated that wellbeing has been a key focus throughout the pandemic for the council’s Children and Young People’s team. There is a continued focus on children’s wellbeing and how they can best be supported. Monmouthshire schools have responded positively, in particular the continued development of Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs) in both primary and secondary schools providing a useful resource for learners and schools.  There are approximately 80 ELSAs working in schools across Monmouthshire.

Will McLean, Chief Officer for Children and Young People, said: “This is a vitally important service, ELSAs are integral to working with both individuals and small groups of children to ensure they feel safe in school and able to communicate how they feel, and through this communication, we can identify the necessary support for them.”

“We have also rolled out a project within Monmouthshire Primary schools that looks at putting children’s ambitions, aspirations and wellbeing first.  The Compass for Life project has been hugely valuable for children in our primary schools, asking them to articulate their ambition and allowing them to understand the steps they need to take to make this a reality. This rewarding project has engaged children across Monmouthshire, helping them understand the importance of resilience and having strong values. The council’s aims are now to ensure this project continues to roll out into secondary schools.”

Sincere gratitude was expressed for the commitment and care of all teaching staff across Monmouthshire’s schools. Councillor Paul Pavia, Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for Education, said: “Everyone; our caretakers, caterers, cleaners, teachers, support staff and leaders have done an incredible job in these difficult times to ensure schools are safe and secure, they have made an absolutely incredible contribution.”