Taking a children's human rights approach: guidance

Guidance to provide information and resources to support public authorities and other organisations to implement a children’s human rights approach.

Annex A.

Case studies: taking a children’s human rights approach


The aim of this section is to provide some practical examples of initiatives that have taken a children’s human rights approach to specific rights issues or policy areas with the aim of giving better and further effect to these rights. The aim of these case studies is to provide ideas and encourage consideration of children’s human rights across all functions of public services, including those not traditionally deemed to be frontline children’s services.

In several of these case studies, it was clear that policy-makers and practitioners did not know enough about children’s views on the issues, but that children’s perspectives were vital to understand how their rights and wellbeing could best be supported and realised. These case studies illustrate diverse ways that practitioners tried to gain this insight and gather evidence in a transparent and accountable manner. These and other case studies interspersed throughout the chapters, illustrate the interconnectedness of rights and the need to take this interdependence into account when addressing complex issues. Some case studies focus only on one specific right and show the innovative way in which practitioners have tried to realise this right with children and their parents or carers, in some instances.

The case studies are intended to stimulate ideas on how specific rights can be strengthened and how complex issues affecting the wellbeing and rights fulfilment of particular groups of children can be addressed.

A.1 First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Health and Education Chamber (Additional Support Needs)


The Additional Support Needs Tribunal is responsible for hearing a range of appeals. These include appeals brought by children aged 12-15 years related to decisions of an education authority on their assessment of a child’s capacity or wellbeing, or in relation to co-ordinated support plans (the only statutory education plan in Scotland).

Other appeals (called ‘references’) include school placing requests and transitions. These can be brought by young people, carers or parents. Claims can also be made for disability discrimination in school education. Claims can be brought by children, carers or parents.

Right to be heard in judicial proceedings

Article 12 of the UNCRC states that:

1. Every child who is capable of forming their own views has the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) makes clear that the provision of age-appropriate assistance to disabled children (Article 7) must be provided and that State Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide “access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity” (Article 12.3).

Action taken

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Health and Education Chamber (‘the Chamber’) recognises its responsibility for ensuring these rights are upheld and is committed to ensuring it operates in a way which gives effect to these. The Chamber President and colleagues demonstrated their commitment to taking a children’s human rights approach by deciding to co-produce plans for the process and physical environment where the tribunal hearing takes place together with children and young people. This was done through meetings and workshops with children and young people who had experience of hearings to learn what makes it easier to be involved in the process and how barriers to participation can be removed. Children and young people expressed views that showed how disempowered and marginalised they felt during the process, not only as a child, but also for some, because of adverse experiences from their childhood (ACEs)[23] or because they were disabled. The picture[24] above, drawn by an 11 year old child, depicts what this often feels like for children.

Taking into account children and young people’s views resulted in a number of key sensory initiatives which included avoiding bold primary colours for the neuro-diverse child, to only have furniture that is needed in the room, keeping out external noise, introducing round tables, and using a wide range of communication tools, including talking mats and social stories. Children and young people are also able to decide who sits where in the room, if they want to bring their pets, how they would like to personalise the room, and when to have snacks and water. A sensory room (shown in the adjacent picture) was added which can be used by children who feel they need to take time out during the hearing.

Changing the process and the physical environment was based on the principle of “wrapping the system around the child” and not the child around the system. The Chamber President encourages judiciary and staff to explore every avenue available to ensure that communication with each child is not only possible, but is empowering and effective, including with non-verbal children. This could mean bringing communication experts in to support as intermediaries to assist the child and Tribunal members in communicating.

Alongside these innovations, guidance and training materials have been produced for Tribunal members, which provide comprehensive guidance on the tribunal process, including how to approach the capacity and wellbeing assessments for children, preparing questions, obtaining views and evidence, the rights of child parties and preparing a letter to the child explaining the tribunal decision[25].

Listening and learning from children and young people has been at the core of these developments. Inclusion ambassadors have also given great insight and their views are directly incorporated in guidance.


The prevailing ethos of the Chamber is that members continue to learn from children and young people and set aside preconceived adult notions of what works best. In the words of May Dunsmuir, Chamber President:

“Children and young people are experts in their own right. They know what works best and what doesn’t. If access to justice is to be authentic and credible, it must be centred on their experiences, listening and learning directly from them.”

A.2 The Right to non-discrimination: LGBT inclusivity in education


Learners who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), perceived or thought by others to be LGBT and who have family members who are LGBT, may experience stigmatisation, discrimination and prejudice-related bullying in Scottish schools.

A report conducted on Scottish schools found that although prejudice related to being LGBT has been identified as problematic in schools for many years, the approach taken has often been a reactive one where many teachers and schools respond to individual incidents but do not address the underlying issues in a systematic way[26]. This has resulted in a situation where many LGBT pupils experience hostility and abuse on a daily basis with 90% of LGBT respondents reporting experiencing homophobia, biphobia and transphobia while at school[27].

Teachers report a lack of confidence in how to address issues of discrimination as well as how to include LGBT related discrimination and prejudice in their teaching and expressed a need for knowledge and support. This perception is supported by the findings in the same report that only 5% of LGBT respondents believe that their teachers were adequately equipped to discuss LGBT issues in the classroom, and 72% reporting that bullying was not challenged by teachers in their school.

Specific rights

A number of different rights are relevant to this issue of which the rights to non-discrimination (Article 2), freedom of expression (Articles 12 and 13) and identity (Article 8) are central. Other relevant UNCRC articles are:[28]

  • Article 16 confirms every child’s right to privacy, including protection against reputational attacks.
  • Article 29 stipulates that education should prepare children and young people for life in a free society in the spirit of peace and tolerance amongst people from all groups.

Action taken

To counter this discrimination, LGBT inclusive education has been implemented in schools in Scotland from September 2021 onwards. An initiative to provide training materials to teachers, student teachers and learners was launched by Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) and funded by Scottish Government. This proactive educational approach seeks to address the systemic discrimination underlying LGBT experiences in schools through providing knowledge about inclusive language and environments, LGBT history, icons and role models, challenging gender stereotypes and discrimination, and facilitating pupil voice in schools.

A web platform was created to host LGBT resources and toolkits with a three-stage certification process in place for teachers, staff and practitioners. This includes multi-media lesson plans linked to benchmarks across curriculum areas. Professional training sessions for student teachers were also developed and delivered as well as workshops with learners in schools.

A recent evaluation reports that in the time period between September 2021 and June 2022, 541 primary and secondary schools (22% of all schools) in Scotland had registered on the platform and were engaging with the resources available. Over 2,000 teachers, staff and practitioners had completed Stage 1 of the e-learning module and over 1,000 had completed Stage 2. Approximately 2,300 student teachers had received professional training input and approximately 250 learning sessions were delivered in schools.

All groups reported that knowledge and understanding and action planning increased through participation in the sessions. There was a significant increase in confidence for teachers and learners alike in addressing discriminatory attitudes and behaviors where they came across it:

“The content has provided me with more confidence in talking to peers about LGBT education by reinforcing the message that it is our job as educators to ensure that all pupils are treated fairly”. Secondary school teacher, Lanarkshire Council

“[I learnt to] stand up for people when they throw that language about and not use it myself” (Secondary school learner, Shetland Island Council].


To uphold children’s rights, systemic discrimination underlying LGBT experiences needs to be addressed so that children everywhere can live without experiencing prejudice, bullying and hostility. When we educate, engage and empower both children and those working and caring for them, positive change can happen.

A.3 Engaging with children and young people to improve the GIRFEC refreshed guidance


In September 2022, revised GIRFEC policy and practice guidance materials were published to provide practitioners with confidence, clarity and practical support to continue to embed GIRFEC when planning support for children and young people. The GIRFEC policy team worked with partners across all sectors, including children and young people, to produce guidance which reflects Scottish Government’s commitment to fully incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to the maximum extent of the Scottish Parliament’s powers.

Approach taken

The GIRFEC team applied a children’s human rights approach in which the views of children and young people were sought and listened to. They employed a compassionate and caring decision-making culture, focused on children and young people and those they trust. Children and young people were meaningfully and appropriately involved in the refresh process.

GIRFEC, as a strengths-based approach, seeks to realise children’s rights on a day-to-day basis and is underpinned by key values and principles which influenced the policy team’s decision to involve children and young people. Some of these that directly relate to the right to participate are:

  • Placing the child or young person and their family at the heart, and promoting choice, with full participation in decisions that affect them
  • Working together with families to enable a rights respecting, strengths based, inclusive approach
  • Valuing difference and ensuring everyone is treated fairly
  • Considering and addressing inequalities

The approach taken used organisations that already had trusting relationships and expertise in working with children and young people. The GIRFEC policy team ensured that resources were available to support the eight organisations carrying out this work. This resulted in creative and innovative approaches and led to a more enjoyable and meaningful participation experience for the children and young people.

The range of organisations which were supported in the engagement work ensured children whose rights are at risk were involved. This included care-experienced children and young people, young carers, disabled children and young people, refugees and asylum seekers and young people with experience of the criminal justice system, amongst others. The work also involved children and young people from a range of urban and rural areas.

In recognition of how valuable their input had been, the Minister for Children and Young People sent a letter to each of the children and young people involved thanking them for their contributions, and informing them that their views had influenced national guidance which will help to improve children’s wellbeing and outcomes.


If the right to participation and expressing opinions (Articles 12) is taken seriously, it means engaging with children and young people on all aspects of work, including policy development, where adults will benefit from the value and insight children and young people bring. In addition, actively engaging children and young people from different regions and representative groups gave a diverse range of perspectives. The GIRFEC team noted that the children and young people were able to offer valuable insights into how the guidance could be improved, and made more accessible and inclusive. For example, the children and young people were able to feed back that some of the language used did not make sense to them:

The language used is not the way people speak normally so should not be used on written statements… For example, who uses the statement “intersecting form of inequality?” (Young person participating in engagement event).

This approach had a positive impact on GIRFEC policy development as the policy team were able to use the feedback from children and young people to improve the guidance.

A.4 Accessible play for disabled children


The Scottish Government committed £60m funding for local authorities to renew play parks for all children to be able to access quality play opportunities in their local communities.

There is strong evidence that playing outside can benefit children and young people’s health and wellbeing. All children need to be able to engage in age appropriate play and recreational activities. It is important that all children across Scotland can access high quality play opportunities in a range of settings that will aid their growth, development and wellbeing. Families with disabled children often say that they are not able to take full advantage of what Scotland has to offer because they worry about how accessible places are for disabled people[29]

Specific rights

A number of child rights are relevant in this situation:

  • Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law and is articulated in Article 2 of the UNCRC
  • Accessible and inclusive environments and facilities must be made available to disabled children to enable them to enjoy their rights under Article 31.
  • Article 23 of the UNCRC provides that a disabled child “should enjoy a full and decent life, which ensures dignity, promotes self-reliance and facilitates the child’s active participation in the community”.

Approach taken

The Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group (DCYPAG) and organisations from the play sector helped to shape a set of national principles in 2021, so that local authorities design play parks that offer improved play opportunities for all children and families.

Principle 1: Children, young people, and families are best placed to inform what quality play looks like to them, and should therefore be involved throughout the process, from the review of parks through to helping design the renewal of individual play parks. This is in line with Article 12 of the UNCRC which sets out that every child who is capable of forming their own views has the right to express those views freely. The views of children, young people and families provide valuable insight into how they interact with parks and facilities.

Principle 2: All children have the right to play under the UNCRC Article 31. Access to play should be as wide-reaching and inclusive as possible, ensuring that children, young people, and families have easy local access to play spaces where they feel safe and comfortable to use them. Inclusiveness looks different for everyone, so meaningful engagement with the children who will be using your play parks is fundamental.

Principle 3: Play parks and spaces should seek to bring together local communities, children and young people of all ages and abilities, creating a greater sense of place and cohesion. The design and renewal of play parks should be done in a way that best meets the social and environmental needs of communities and its children and young people.

Principle 4: The renewal programme will be strengthened by sharing and learning from best practice and take a strategic and evidence-based approach to the design and renewal of their local play parks.

As a result of this programme of work, all local authorities in Scotland are expected to keep a comprehensive inventory of all play parks in their estate, the age and condition of each park and its equipment, and how they fit with the needs of local communities.

Local authorities should engage with children and families local to each park, listening to those that use the park and what they like about it, and those who do not use it and their reasons why.

It is important for local authorities to seek guidance from experts who can offer support and training. For the play park renewal programme, Scottish Government developed a network of local authority lead officers. This was created to facilitate discussion of progress, exchange of ideas and learning, and sharing of good practice. ‘Inclusion’ was a theme for one of these meetings with experts and guest speakers from PAMIS (Promoting a more Inclusive Society), Sense Scotland and Play Scotland in attendance to highlight what local authorities should be considering when consulting with, and designing play parks for, disabled children and young people.

Inclusive parks should include features other than equipment that will support families to visit and enjoy the parks, for example, extra seating, suitable surfaces, toilet facilities, planting, improved access points and circulation routes, and water fountains may all help to make parks more inclusive, welcoming and enjoyable.

A guide to creating accessible and inclusive public play spaces was developed in 2018 and was informed by the Scotland’s Play Strategy (2015) research undertaken by Scotland’s Play Strategy Implementation Group and surveys undertaken in 2017 with families, carers and with groups who had recently developed a play space.

At the time of producing the Free to Play guide, Dumfries and Galloway Council had made an investment in play parks in Dumfries, Stranraer and Annan. The objective was to improve inclusive provision and to maximise opportunities by working with the local community and voluntary groups in the three locations. The lead group for the development of Catherine Street Play Park in Dumfries was the Parents Inclusion Network (PIN) which supports parents in the region who have a disabled child of any age. The PIN working group generously shared their experiences of places to play and allowed examples from their group’s play space project to be included in the guide.[30]The guide has been greatly enhanced by the opportunity to engage with the groups and council officers involved in the process. This helped clarify the kind of information and advice that community groups might need but which can be hard to find.


Accessible and inclusive play spaces are important to ensure that all children and young people, including those with additional support needs, can exercise their right to play. Accessible and inclusive play spaces ensure children and young people have a safe place to play and should be recognised as important community assets, promoting health, well-being and a sense of community.

A.5 Supporting young Gypsy/Traveller communities to access more inclusive education


Evidence from the Improving educational outcomes for children and young people from travelling cultures report shows that as a group, Gypsy/Traveller children and young people’s educational outcomes in terms of attainment and positive destinations are among the lowest in Scottish education. Gypsy/Traveller school leavers are less likely to end up in a positive destination, with a significant number leaving with no qualifications compared to their peers.

The Gypsy/Traveller community often state that they feel excluded, and that the education provided is geared only towards the personality and abilities of non-Gypsy/Travellers and is not relevant to their nomadic lives and culture. They face barriers to participation, usually resulting from discrimination and a lack of inclusion.

Issues include poor attendance, learning interruption, family caring responsibilities and absence of a supportive learning environment in the home, for example due to low levels of parental literacy.

Specific rights

The most relevant child rights for this situation, apart from the right to non-discrimination and the right to education, are:

  • Article 30: In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.
  • Article 8: States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve their identity, including name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

Approach taken

The Scottish Education Traveller Programme (STEP), is conducting research, commissioned and funded by the Scottish Government, into the educational experiences of Gypsy/Traveller families and their children. STEP is taking a children’s human rights approach and will include Gypsy/Traveller children and families throughout the process, in both sharing their experience of education in Scotland and ensuring that the final research outcomes are reflective of their views. Parents and children will have access to information about their entitlements to education, the possible ways that education can be experienced, as well as how education can impact economically on their cultures.

There will be a specific focus on opportunities for additional support for learning (ASL) and how cultural barriers faced by many Gypsy/Traveller families can be addressed. The knowledge that is produced through the research will be used to inform policy implementation, training programmes and local and national approaches so that the experiences of Gypsy/Traveller young people are improved and opportunities to succeed are increased.

Transition planning for secondary school at Eastbank Academy, Glasgow

Eastbank Academy has, over an extended period, been able to build positive relationships with families of the Gypsy/Traveller community. This has greatly benefited the achievement and attainment of the young people and has been a significant factor in the increase of the number of young people moving into further and higher education from this community. The intensive support the school provided in previous years for literacy to the young people and their families is now enabling those who were involved then, to engage with and support their own children’s learning today.

More children and young people attend the school on a regular basis and the school has developed a variety of approaches and support.

Examples include:

  • Extra support made available to the children and young people when they return from a period of travel to enable them to catch up with their course work.
  • Curriculum accessibility and flexibility when family is traveling and technologies are effectively used to provide and access work and maintain a connection with the school and the teachers.
  • Flexible pathways which include working collaboratively with community learning, school, the college sector and voluntary agencies.
  • Young people are encouraged and supported to gain Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accreditation using a flexible pathway approach.[31]

Gypsy/Traveller Education Group – South Lanarkshire Council

The Gypsy/Traveller Education Group (GTEG) identified the need to have an alternative education provision that offers bespoke and staged intervention opportunities for Gypsy/Traveller young people and their families. The group provides support through pop-up venues as well as academic support from a community centre. Parents are involved and engaged initially in their child’s learning through home visits. Help with homework is given for parents where necessary through non-judgemental, easy to understand approaches. Close working relationships with parents and families, based on understanding and trust, have been established and maintained. Parents and families are involved and engaged in their child’s learning. Two-way communication has strengthened home-school partnership working. Over the academic year 2021-22, 32 young people have engaged in the project and pupils have achieved qualifications at National 3, 4 and 5 levels. A group of S1 and S2 pupils achieved the John Muir Award.


All learners have a right to learn in an equitable environment where all cultures, identities and languages are recognised and valued and where the curriculum responds to the diverse needs of individual learners, reflecting the uniqueness of their communities. The STEP programme is underpinned by a children’s human rights approach to delivering on the right to an education and a positive educational experience for all Gypsy/Traveller children and young people. However, to achieve this, we must first recognise and understand the barriers to realising educational potential that some of these children and young people may face, and then address these.

A.6 Children’s Hearings Scotland and the Trauma Informed Approach


In Scotland we have a unique approach to care and justice in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. The Children’s Hearings System deals with child protection and youth justice matters through a decision-making tribunal called a Children’s Hearing. Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) recruit, train and support volunteer Panel Members who make legal decisions with and for children and young people in children’s hearings.

CHS has been using a trauma-informed approach to create a safe and supportive environment for children and young people, many of whom have already experienced significant trauma in their lives. Trauma-informed practice is defined as “A model that is grounded in and directed by a complete understanding of how trauma exposure affects service user’s neurological, biological, psychological and social development[32]”.

Specific rights

The child rights that are relevant to this issue are:

  • Article 3: In all actions concerning children, whether carried out by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. States Parties agree to ensure the child the protection and care necessary for their wellbeing, taking into account the rights and duties of their parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for them, and will take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.

Approach taken

Children’s Hearings Scotland has worked closely with the National Health Service Education for Scotland (NES) to make best use of publicly available learning content on trauma for children and young people, particularly resources provided by the National Trauma Training Programme. All trainee Panel Members in the last two years (2020-21) have learned about trauma and the impact of trauma. Panel Members are trained to be trauma-informed in the way decisions and reasons are communicated to children.

To progress their overall work in the area of trauma, CHS has a trauma plan and an internal project group involving CHS staff and volunteers. This group oversees CHS’ pathway to ensure all CHS staff and volunteers are trauma responsive. All of the learning provided on trauma links back to children’s hearings – before, during, and after.

Initial success has been measured through completion of learning and enhancing the current learning content. The next phase is for CHS to use their quality assurance mechanism – Panel Practice Advisers (PPAs) – to ensure that learning is converted into action in children’s hearings. PPAs observe Panel Members carrying out their role and provide feedback to ensure best practice in hearings.


Addressing trauma requires a multifaceted, multi-agency approach that includes awareness raising and education, upstream working, and effective trauma-focused assessment and treatment. To maximise impact, all of these efforts will need to be delivered in an environment that is trauma-informed.

The journey towards becoming a trauma-informed organisation (such as the Children’s Hearings Scotland example) will require organisations to move beyond traditional models of service delivery and to re-evaluate all of their organisations’ functions, practices and policies through a trauma-informed lens. As part of this reconceptualisation of services, organisations will need to reframe complex behaviours as potential responses to trauma related triggers and will need to prioritise building trusting, mutual relationships above all else[33].

A.7. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma 


Without the right support, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and psychological trauma experienced in childhood can have wide ranging impacts on children and young people’s mental health, attachment styles, and their education and learning. 

This can create an unstable foundation for their future growth and development. 
Preventing ACEs and childhood trauma and providing support to mitigate the negative impacts for children and young people, is rooted in children’s rights. Public authorities have responsibilities to ensure that children are healthy, happy and safe and have a say in their own lives. 

Specific rights 

Work on ACEs and trauma cuts across most UNCRC rights, in particular: 
•    Article 3 (best interests of the child) 
•    Article 6 (life, survival and development) 
•    Article 12 (respect for the views of the child)
•    Article 19 (protection from violence abuse and neglect) 
•    Article 24 (health and health services)  
•    Article 29 (goals of education)  
•    Article 31 (leisure, play and culture) 
•    Article 33 (drug abuse)  
•    Article 34 (sexual exploitation and abuse) 
•    Article 35 (abduction, sale and trafficking) 
•    Article 36 (other forms of exploitation) 
•    Article 39 (recovery from trauma and reintegration)  
•    Article 40 (juvenile justice) 

Action/approach taken 

The National Trauma Transformation Programme (NTTP) supports the Scottish Government and COSLA’s shared ambition for a trauma-informed workforce and services across Scotland. 

The NTTP is based on the Knowledge and Skills Framework for Psychological Trauma. This Framework sets out the knowledge and skills needed by all sectors of the workforce to recognise the needs of children and adults affected by psychological trauma and adversity (including ACEs).  It supports them to respond in ways which recognise individual strengths, acknowledges rights and ensure timely access to effective care, support and interventions.  

Since 2018, the Scottish Government has invested over £9.6 million in the National Trauma Transformation Programme. This includes a total of £1.6 million each year since 2021/22 shared across all 32 local authorities to work with community planning partners to further progress trauma-informed services, systems and workforces. 


Preventing and mitigating the impact of ACEs and trauma provides an increased opportunity for a child’s healthy development and lifelong opportunities to thrive. 
This requires a multi-agency response that includes awareness raising, education, early intervention and prevention.  

Further resources

The Scottish Government has provided information on ACEs and Trauma.  
The Roadmap for Creating Trauma-Informed and Responsive Change: Guidance for Organisations, Systems and Workforces in Scotland is designed to be used flexibly and independently by services and organisations across all sectors of the workforce in Scotland. It can be used to help identify and reflect on progress, strengths and opportunities for embedding a trauma-informed and responsive approach across policy and practice.  

This short animation (11 minutes) is designed for everyone who works with children and young people. It aims to support people to understand the impact of trauma and to know how to adapt the way they work to make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people affected by trauma.

A.8. Anti-Racism in Education Programme 


The Scottish Government’s Anti-Racism in Education Programme (AREP) was established in 2021 to bring together all of the work already underway to tackle racism in Scottish education. The inception of the programme was informed by the voices of children and young people, both through correspondence and through meetings with the then Deputy First Minister, and the Minister for Older People and Equalities. 
The AREP is made up of four interrelated workstreams, each with its own working subgroup consisting of key education and anti-racism stakeholders: 
•    Education leadership and professional learning is focussed on ensuring that every teacher (and the wider education workforce) in Scotland is racially literate and not race evasive. This work aims to assist the education workforce to become more confident and skilled in engaging in dialogue about race, resulting in a more inclusive environment for all children and young people. 
•    Diversity in the teaching profession and education workforce aims to increase diversity within Scotland’s education workforce to ensure it is representative of the population that it serves, recognising the importance of children and young people being able to learn from teachers who come from a range of diverse cultures and backgrounds. 
•    Curriculum reform is focussed on how to articulate and embed anti-racism within a diverse and culturally literate curriculum. This is a key part of promoting children’s rights, social justice and a pupil-centred education. 
•    Racism and racist incidents is focussed on ensuring that racism in schools is properly identified and addressed. The work of this subgroup will improve the way in which school staff respond to incidents of racism in schools. This will help children and young people to have confidence to report incidents of racism when they occur and will help schools to support children and young people who experience racism. 

Specific rights

Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law and is articulated in Article 2 of the UNCRC. Other articles relevant in this situation are: 
Article 28 calls that every child has the right to an education.  
Article 29 stipulates that education must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment. 

Action/approach taken 

Inclusion, wellbeing and equality are embedded in Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence which is a ‘needs led’ and rights based educational system, designed to be inclusive for all children and young people.   

Engagement with children and young people

The voice of children and young people, particularly Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) children and young people is essential to the work of the AREP. The Scottish Government commissioned Intercultural Youth Scotland to carry out a programme of engagement with children and young people in connection with the work of the AREP. 

This programme of engagement began in November 2023. The workshops provide children and young people with the opportunity to discuss and reflect upon the progress to date of the AREP, as well as the specific action plans for the four thematic subgroups. The children and young people will then create a set of recommendations for each of the subgroups, with a commitment for such groups to respond in order to ensure that engagement is meaningful. 

Three members of the Scottish Youth Parliament contribute to the work of the AREP as members of the Programme Board and on the Curriculum Reform subgroup. Centering the voices and experiences of young people with BAME characteristics is a key principle of the work of the AREP.  

A set of Anti-Racist Curriculum Principles was developed by the Curriculum Reform working subgroup, signed off by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and published in June. This work is committed to ensuring children and young people experience a curriculum that meaningfully recognises and fairly represents the rich and diverse communities in Scotland and beyond, led by educators with high levels of racial literacy. The principles were co-designed by a Black young person and Member of Scottish Youth Parliament. The principles should be engaged with and alongside children’s rights. 


The long-term outcomes for the AREP include: 
•    Scotland’s schools and learning environments have anti-racism embedded in their structures, leadership and curriculum. 
These ambitions will further assist in fulfilling children and young people’s right to a school education by ensuring that such education is directed towards developing all children and young people’s personality, talents, and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. 


Email: uncrcincorporation@gov.scot

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