Posted 19.05.2021

The Assembly’s Education Committee yesterday (Tuesday 18 May) launched a new initiative to find out more about young people’s experiences during lockdown.

The ‘Life and Learning in Lockdown’ project will incorporate a special Zoom event where young people aged 16+ will be given an opportunity to speak to the Committee directly about the challenges of lockdown, including mental health and wellbeing. Children of all ages, in full and part-time education, are also being asked to submit a piece of original artwork to reflect what lockdown was like for them.

Speaking after today’s launch, the Committee Chairperson, Chris Lyttle MLA said: 

In March 2021, my Committee held a special meeting with young people to find out more about the effect lockdown, school closures and restarts has had on their mental health and well- being. We were incredibly inspired by what we heard and by the bravery and honesty these young people demonstrated in relaying their own very personal stories.  ‘The Life and Learning in Lockdown’ initiative will, we hope, provide many more of our children and young people with an opportunity to have their voices heard.

Mr Lyttle continued: 

In recent months, the Committee has heard from a number of education and health professionals on this issue, however, if we are to fully understand the impact of lockdown, it’s crucial that we speak to young people directly. Only then can we ensure that lessons are learned and that the voice of young people, their needs and their ideas are factored into future educational and relevant health related planning and policy.

Mr Lyttle concluded: 

We also want to take this opportunity to recognise and highlight the sacrifices and contributions our young people have made to keeping themselves, their families and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee will be compiling a short report, featuring the information gathered and the artwork provided. The report will help us share the young people’s input with the Assembly and the Department of Education, and we will debate it in the Assembly in due course.

As part of the ‘Life and Learning in Lockdown’ initiative, the Assembly’s Education Service will also be holding virtual events with children and young people in primary and secondary schools throughout Northern Ireland.

Read further information on the ‘Life and Learning in Lockdown’ initiative

Register for the zoom event: The 16+ Zoom event will be held on Wednesday 2 June 2021, 6-8pm, those interested in taking part can register at