14 Aug 2022

Offaly teenager judge in school competition run by Children's Ombudsman

Offaly teenager judge in school competition run by Children's Ombudsman

Offaly teenager judge in school competition run by Children's Ombudsman

A young Offaly girl is a judge in the Ombudsman for Children Office's #MoreThanSchool competition.

#MoreThanSchool is a social media competition run by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO). Children were asked how they felt about returning to school after such a long time at home. #MoreThanSchool was an opportunity for children to give their views and to have their say.

13-year-old Ailís Malone from Banagher in Co Offaly is a member of the OCO Youth Advisory panel who selected the winners and runners up of #MoreThanSchool.

The competition drew entries from all age groups across the country and the final winners were whittled down by the Ombudsman for Children’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) last week.

Key themes from the #MoreThanSchool entries were anxiety about exams, getting used to online learning and missing their friends, teachers and sport.

YAP judge Ailís said: “What we learned from the entries is that school is not just a place of learning – many children spoke about how much they liked to see their friends, how much they missed their teachers and their struggles with online learning and missing their hobbies.”

“I really liked how creative the entries were. Children shared poetry, presentations and sculptures,” she said. 

The Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon said: “Children and young people from all over Ireland responded with enthusiasm and thoughtfulness to tell us what school means to them.”

“I was blown away by the creativity of the young people and their entries. We have a living history of our young people’s perspective on the pandemic and the importance of school in their lives and how it has impacted them and their families.”

“The young people have shown a level of wisdom, honesty and insight that adults and people in power should sit up and listen to.”

“I want to congratulate all the winners and thank every single young person who took the time to create an entry – well done,” he said.

The #MoreThanSchool entries can be viewed on the Ombudsman for Children’s Office website. 

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