Can Scotland be Brave – Incorporating UNCRC Article 12 in practice

This project investigated how well practitioners, understood and implemented the full obligations of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (‘UNCRC’).

Project Methodology 

This section outlines:

  • Who participated in the pilot project
  • A brief description of the training and resources used
  • The approaches which were used to capture the data


We decided to include settings where a children's rights agenda was already being actively implemented, in order to achieve a better understanding of how to promote change more widely and learn from experiences. 

Each of the pilot sites were visited before starting the project to discuss project parameters and expectations.

  • Indigo childcare is a Glasgow based social enterprise.[19] They support families with children from birth up to the age of 16yrs by providing affordable childcare services – creche, early years, out of school care and youth services. They aim to provide a platform for improved life chances for young people. 
  • Langlees Primary school in Falkirk was chosen as it was involved in the Rights Respecting Schools Awards scheme and has an explicit focus on pupil wellbeing.[20]
  • Children and Young People's Occupational Therapists - Fife Health & Social Care Partnership[21]
    Occupational Therapists provide advice, reassurance, support, assessment and intervention to help CYP (new-born to school leaving age) to develop their skills in everyday activities to improve their health and well-being.


Enhanced Talking Mats training was provided in each location. This was delivered in two sessions with a six-week gap. 

The training covered:

  • The different elements in the Lundy model of participation and how that relates to the TM process
  • best practice interview techniques 
  • principles of being a Talking Mats listener 
  • background to the tool 
  • who can and who can't use it effectively 
  • emerging capacity for decision making
  • how to create individual topics using Talking Mats. 


The Talking Mats CYP's resource, either in card or digital format, was given to each participant. 

This resource was developed to give a holistic picture of how a child or young person feels about their lives at home, at school and in their communities.[22] It is based on age and stage of development and takes into account the emerging capacities of the child. The stages of language development are made explicit by coding the options as either abstract or concrete. For example, writing and sleeping are concrete concepts whereas energy and feeling safe are more abstract.

This resource was developed using the GIRFEC Wellbeing indicators[23] and the developmental code sets from the WHO ICF (World Health Organisation International Classification Framework for Functioning, Disability and Health, Children and Youth Version).[24] The ICF-CY has produced a number of Developmental Code sets (Ellingsen et al. 2011) to alert practitioners to the pertinent issues at each stage of development.

Each pack comes with a set of images covering the following three topics:

  • My world – asks about school, neighbourhood and support from services
  • About me – asks about family and friends and activities
  • What I do – asks about learning, health, communication and independence


1. A pre and post project survey monkey was sent to all people who attended training. (Appendix 1) 

2. The practitioners agreed to submit case examples of mats they carried out. They were asked to reflect on the reason for doing the Talking Mat and the outcome (Appendix 2)

3. The young people who were the "Thinkers" (i.e. they did the mat) were asked for their views about it. (Appendix 3)

4. A focus group was conducted with children and young people to gain their views on Talking Mats as a way of achieving the 4 principles of participation -Space, Voice, Audience and Influence. (Appendix 4)



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