#MoreThanSchool campaign wants to hear how Galway students feel about returning to school

The Ombudsman for Children wants to know how students from Galway feel about going back to school and what school means to them. A year after schools closed for the first time, and with the phased reopening of schools under way, the #MoreThanSchool campaign is a chance for students to have their say.

Teachers and parents, unions and the Department of Education have had their say. Now it is the turn of children and young people.

School is not just about learning, it is about friends, sport, and being part of a community.

The #MoreThanSchool campaign will run online until Monday April 12, when the final group of students go back to their classrooms.

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office is asking students in Galway returning to school to send a video, photo, comment, reel – anything that shows what going back to school means to them.

How has it been for the students of Galway? Are they nervous? Are they excited? What is their favourite thing about school? How has school changed during the pandemic? Who is their Covid-19 school hero? What is the reality of homeschool?

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office Youth Advisory Panel will select four runners up and an overall winner of #MoreThanSchool. An iPad and other great prizes are up for grabs.

Entries are welcome from children of all ages and from all parts of the country. Students with additional needs, or those who need help to get involved, should get in touch with the OCO and the team will help.

To take part email [email protected] or Whatsapp 087 1029039.

Keep an eye on the Ombudsman for Children’s social media channels, which will be sharing some of the entries.

"Many children have only had 80 days of school since this time last year," said Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children. "They have missed their friends and all the fun that they can’t get on Zoom. In normal times I would be welcoming lots of students to the office, but the pandemic means I haven’t been able to do so.

“This has been a very strange year for all children," he added. "The pandemic has affected children from different parts of the country in different ways. We want to hear the Galway view. Many may have funny stories to tell, some will feel anxious about going back to school, and others will take many years to recover from the impact of everything that has happened. It is important that we ask children how they feel, and that they get a chance to share their stories in their own words.

“Children are resilient but they are not bullet-proof. We know that school isn’t just about exams and getting through the curriculum. We want to hear about it all. I look forward to seeing all the entries and welcoming students back to the office soon.”


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