We are so pleased to see the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child now incorporated into Scots Law! What does this mean for those of us who work in education and children’s services?

This law places a duty on the Scottish Government and public authorities to protect the rights of children and young people. The impact of this legislation will be scrutinised by children and young people themselves, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, the Scottish Parliament and civil society. Children and young people will be able to complain if they think their rights aren’t being protected and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner will be able to provide support with this if required. In some cases, a court could tell an organisation to change what they are doing, if the court agrees that they are not protecting children’s rights properly.

The Articles of the UNCRC make provision for the basic needs of children and young people to be met, they provide protection from harm of any kind and they support the participation of children and young people at all levels. They aim to ensure non-discrimination of any child (Article 2); that public bodies and families always have at their core the best interests of the child (Article 3); that all children have the right to survival and development (Article 6); and that children are able to give their views, have them listened to and participate in any decisions that affect them (Article 12).

Listed public bodies such as local authorities will report on the steps they are taking to further the UNCRC – cross cutting all services. The Scottish Ministers will then publish an annual plan and report on the steps taken, including children’s participation, raising awareness, child rights budgeting, complaints mechanisms, child rights impact assessment and more.

In relation to education services, there are 3 main articles within the UNCRC:
Article 28 – Right to an education. This must respect children’s dignity
Article 29 – Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full
Article 31 – Relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities

Look out for training and further information and support to help us work in partnership with children and young people across the Northern Alliance.

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