10 January 2018 is a big day for children’s rights in Scotland.
As of this date children aged 12 – 15 will have more rights to have a say and be involved in decisions about their education and support.
Once a child reaches their 12th birthday they will have the right to:
- ask their school or local authority to find out if they need extra support
- have a say in plans and decisions made about the support they get
- advocacy at meetings about their support needs to help them share their views, questions some plans or make an appeal about certain issues if they are unhappy with the support provided
- be more involved in resolving disagreements about their support
But what do children and young people think of these new rights?
Scotland’s Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are a group of pupils on a mission to help schools think about how they can become more inclusive. They do this by sharing their own and other pupils’ experiences of what inclusion feels like with schools, local authorities, the Scottish Government and Scottish Ministers.
A strong message from their stories is that feeling listened too and respected is very important to pupils. They hope increasing children’s rights will help children have a voice and be included in decisions about their education and support.
One young ambassador said:
“each pupil should be given the ability to be in control of their own education and a key factor of this is the ability to be heard within their school environment.”
Other young ambassadors felt it was a positive move to have these rights as it will:
“help children feel more respected”
“help all children and young people feel equal to adults”
“children will now have the ability to control their support needs”
“put more control in children’s hands so they are more able to represent themselves”
The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion feel it’s important to make sure that children know and understand their rights and get help to use them and that this is particularly important for the younger children these rights now apply to:
“school staff would need training to make sure they understand that children have these rights”
“it’s important that the children get good information about their rights to help them understand them”
The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion have been sharing their views about what schools and local authorities can do to make sure every child feels included and supported in school in a new film – Ask us, Hear Us, Include Us.
Children and young people who are struggling in school can find loads of information about their rights to extra support as well as advice from other young people on the Reach website www.reach.scot