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 Your child’s rights to advocacy

Having a voice

Make your voice heard Reach postcardAll children have the right to share their views about the extra help they get in school and for these views to be considered to when decisions are being made about their support.

But did you know….

Children with additional support needs aged 12 – 15  have specific rights to be involved in decisions about their education and support. (Find out more about children’s specific rights here.)

While this is great how easy is it for children to ask for extra help or tell their school that they don’t like the support they are getting? In many cases children will not have to formally ask to use their rights because their school will already gather their views when they are planning support or they will have parents who can speak up for them if their support is not working for them.

But what if this isn’t happening?

What happens if a child doesn’t feel confident to say they want more support, doesn’t like the way support is provided or doesn’t feel like they are being listened to? What happens if there is nobody willing or able to speak up for that child?

The good news is that My Rights, My Say can provide advocacy support to children aged 12 – 15 who have additional support needs to help them have their voices heard about their rights in education.

What difference can advocacy make?

A My Rights, My Rights advocacy worker can help a child to have their say if they are:

  • Not getting the right type of support
  • Not feeling like they are being listened to
  • Being bullied
  • Struggling with schoolwork
  • Being excluded or sent home
  • Not feeling included in school life
  • A young carer or care experienced.

My Rights, My Say advocacy workers can help a child by:

  • Listening to them
  • Finding out what is important to them and what they want to share with their school
  • Explaining their rights to support at school.
  • Attending school meetings with them
  • Standing up for their rights even if professionals involved with the child disagree with them
  • Empowering them to speak up for themselves
  • Helping them understand why decisions have been made if different to what they wanted
  • Explaining other options that are open to them.

Having an advocate can be really helpful. Here’s some feedback about how Partners in Advocacy workers have helped children have a say in decisions that affected them.

Children and young people

“The teachers were listening. It’s much better now. I feel better. I can speak in meetings.”

I felt like you being there and supporting me definitely made them listen.

You are a star- thanks so much for coming to my meeting. It was a real help.

Thanks for all the help. You’ve changed my life for the better.

Parents / Carers

Thank you so much for everything you are doing for my son. I know that you are making a huge difference to him with this whole situation.

My daughter wouldn’t be any further on if it wasn’t for you. She responds so much better to a trusted adult out with the family.

I can’t praise the work you do with my son enough and it was lovely to hear his voice and opinions today.

I would well recommend this service, as they are there for the children and are very professional without talking at the children.

More information

My Rights, My Say is a partnership between Enquire, Children in Scotland, Partners in Advocacy and Cairn Legal.

  • Enquire’s role is to provide information and raise awareness of children’s rights and of the support My Rights, My Say offers.
  • Partners in Advocacy provide advocacy to children wishing to exercising their rights.
  • Cairn Legal provides legal representation at the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.
  • Children in Scotland takes the views of some children involved in dispute resolution proceedings and supports local authorities to enhance professional practice in listening to children’s views).

If your child is aged 12 -15 and want to use their rights to be more involved in decisions about their support they can get in touch with My Rights, My Say here. If you want to know more about your child’s rights or make a referral, visit the My Rights, My Say page of our website.

Contact the Enquire Helpline on 0345 123 2303

Helpline open today 9.00am - 4:30pm.

Resources/Advice for Young People/

Reach is our website offering pupils advice and information about getting the right support in school.

Go to the REACH website