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Press release: #MoreThanSchool nationwide campaign

A year after schools closed for the first time, and as the phased reopening of schools takes place, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office is asking students to share what school means to them.

We’ve heard from teachers and parents, from unions and the Department of Education. Now we want to hear directly from children and young people.

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

The #MoreThanSchool campaign will run online from Monday March 15th until Monday 12th April, when the final group of students go back to their classrooms.

How to get involved:

We are asking students returning to school to send us a video, a photo, a comment, a reel – anything that shows what going back to school means to them.

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 i-pad 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 we will help.

To take part email or Whatsapp 087 1029039.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out on the Ombudsman for Children’s social media channels, where we will be sharing some of the entries.

Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children said:

“Many children have only had 80 days of school since this time last year. 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. 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.”

Note to Editors:

When an entry is received, we will make contact to get permission from the young person and parents/guardians before sharing online or on our social accounts.

If we don’t get permission, we will not be able to use the entry and we will have to delete it from our records.

If information is received that suggests a child is in danger or at risk, we will follow up and report.