Tag Archives: Your rights

Pupil Voice: Respecting Rights at our School⤴

from @ Reach

At most schools, there’s lots of talk about children’s rights. Rights are like promises to make sure that you are treated fairly, kept safe, and have what you need to live a good life. Learning about your rights at school can help you feel more cared for and in control of your future.

You might have questions about what rights are and why they’re such a big deal. Questions like… What rights do I have? What does it mean to respect everyone’s rights at school? Are my wants and my needs always the same as my rights? What happens when children’s rights are denied?

These are all good questions.

UNICEF rights respecting school logoThe charity UNICEF helps school to explore more about what rights are with their ‘Rights Respecting School’ award. 

Here’s what a few pupils at Ross High have to say about their school being a rights respecting school:

‘It has had a huge positive impact on my learning and I have a greater awareness of my rights and how that impacts my education.’ Hannah, S4

‘Moving from primary, to a rights respecting school, I have made really good relationships with my friends and teachers. I have learnt more about my rights and how it affects me and my family.’ Euan, S1

‘People are more aware of their rights and are putting them to practise.’ Leiha, S2

Ross High rights respecting schoolHere’s what Ailiya and Emma in S4 at Ross High shared with Reach:

“Our school is very proud that we successfully achieved our Level Two Rights Respecting Schools award, the first Secondary School to do so in East Lothian.

Being in a Rights Respecting School gives all the pupils a voice and a platform where pupils can express their opinion. For example we have our Pupil Council, Junior Leadership Team and Senior Leadership teams.

Being in a Rights Respecting School means everyone is aware of their rights as it is taught and applied in class but also shown with class displays and posters throughout the school.

We also have the privilege of having a mural outside our school, that was created by the Children’s Parliament . A group of our pupils went to a primary school to see how the mural was being made but also meeting the children behind it. This was a great opportunity to interact with younger years and find out their view on rights.

Ross High School is a place where pupils, teachers and the community have great respect for each other and their surroundings.”

Rights respecting school journey

Find out more about the bronze, silver and gold rights respecting schools awards, and how children’s rights can be a lived reality in your school. 

 

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“We are the young people, we are the experts, and we really want to be heard”: Inclusion Ambassadors⤴

from @ Reach

“It feels very low to be left out”. “We need to be treated equally”. “I’d need to trust the people I’m asking for help”. Words of wisdom from a group of young people with diverse support needs campaigning for everyone to be included, no one left out.

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Reach needs YOU – have your say in our survey⤴

from @ Reach

Hey you out there. Yes….you!

Pointing finger we need YOU

We would really appreciate your help.

Can you spare 5 mins to answer a few questions in our survey? Click here to take the survey.

We want to make sure that the Reach website is what young people like you actually want and need.

We will listen carefully to what you have to say, and will use what you tell us to shape the future of Reach.

Young person at computer dancing for joy

We will be entering all young people who complete the survey into a prize draw for Amazon Vouchers.

 THANK YOU SO MUCH – YOU’VE REALLY HELPED US TODAY.

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Want to find out more about your rights? Check out the Launchpad game online⤴

from @ Reach

St. Patrick’s Primary School, a UNICEF partner school, in Coatbridge, in Glasgow, Scotland, on 27 March 2015.

Did you know that you have the right to the best possible childhood, where you are respected, listened to, well looked after, safe and happy?

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC for short, sets out what your rights are. When countries sign up to it, they’re promising to protect your rights and make sure you have what you need. Almost every country in the world has signed up, including the United Kingdom.

Want to find out more while having fun playing games online? Check out UNICEF’s Launchpad game to explore your rights and how to enjoy them.

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3 reasons why pupil participation at school matters⤴

from @ Reach

 

Image reproduced with the permission of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

There are lots of ways that pupils can get involved in decision making at school. Pupil councils, school votes, giving feedback to teachers, having a say in how the school is run and what you learn. But why does pupil participation matter?

Here are 3 reasons why pupils should have a voice at school:

1.It’s your right!

As a young person, you have the right to have a say in decisions that affect you. That is just one of a long list of rights set out in an international law that almost every country in the world is signed up to. It’s got a long name: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the UNCRC for short). Basically, it’s a list of  promises to young people to listen to you, keep you safe, look after you and treat you fairly.

2. Participate + listened to + included = ‘Do well’.

The team at the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland  came up with this nifty way of putting it after talking to over 130 pupils from 7 schools around Scotland: Being listened to, actively included in school life and decision making and feeling respected is key to helping young people do well at school”.

When pupils get the chance to share their views then the Commissioner’s research shows that this helps you do well at school, because you feel more respected and included. “It makes you more confident ’cause you speak out” as one pupil put it. Another pupil said that at their school “there’s a really high level of mutual respect, that pupils listen to the teachers, but the teachers listen – and value- the pupils’ points of view and things to say, so it makes you more confident and you’re open with your ideas.” Getting on with your teacher seemed  really important to pupils feeling able to speak out: “The good relationship with the teacher makes you feel comfortable asking for extra help. Because sometimes it can seem a wee bit daunting especially when you’re in a classroom”.

3. No one else can think about what makes school work well in the way you can.

No one else has the ideas that you have or can think the way that you think. Your words and your thoughts are unique, just like you. It’s only by listening to all their pupils that schools can work out what is best for each and every one of you. As one young person who took part in the research put it: “pupil involvement that the school gives us and responsibility….not just at the pupil council…it’s every single pupil”.

You are never too young to use your voice to speak up about stuff that you care about. And you can use your voice to make a difference to other people at school too.  “We’re more aware of the problems in the school than the teachers. They can’t see it from a pupil point of view. The same as we can’t see it from a teacher point of view”. 

 

So that’s it! Three good reasons you can’t argue with….

What are your experiences (good or bad) of having a say at school? We’d love to hear from you. 

Here’s the link to the full report and a BSL version of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner report How Young People’s Participation in School Supports Achievement and Attainment.

 

 

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Seems like everybody’s talking about mental health⤴

from @ Reach

It seems like everybody’s talking about how Scotland can get better at supporting people’s mental health. The Scottish Government have a new plan – called the ten-year Mental Health Strategy.

We like the way See Me Scotland explain why having a plan like this matters: ‘We all have mental health and the results of this strategy must be that when we are struggling, we feel safe and supported to speak out and get help, in any area of our life, without the chance of being dismissed or judged.’ 

The Mental Health Strategy has lots of plans for making mental health support for young people better. Here are some of the things it sets out to do:

  1. To review the mental health support that pupils get in schools.
  2. To look into counselling in schools and other places for young people.
  3. To think about how Personal and Social Education (PSE) lessons at school could do more to get pupils talking about mental health and teach them about where they can get info, advice and support.
  4. To get better at supporting young people with their mental health issues early on, before they get worse.
What do YOU think of the Government’s Strategy for Mental Health?
We’d love to hear your views. 

The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) have been campaigning about many of the issues talked about it in the strategy for over a year with theiSpeak Your Mind campaign and their report Our generation’s epidemic. MSYP Lewis Douglas recently told Reach that after talking with almost 1500 young people, MSYPs had found that “one in five young people did not know where to go for advice and support for a mental health problem. Young people also said that, as well as embarrassment and a fear of being judged, a lack of understanding about mental health is a major barrier to talking openly about the issue.”

The good news is that there are already schools that are doing some great things around mental health. For example, we just read about how pupils at Castle Douglas High School staged a take over at their school for a week to get people talking about mental health and how to challenge stigma.

Castle Douglas pupils used See Me Scotland’s What’s on Your Mind?’ pack to do their own lessons on mental health with younger pupils at the school. Genius! No wonder they even got their story on the telly… Check out what they had to say here.

 

 

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What helps young people feel included in school?⤴

from @ Reach

Hello, I’m Mark, I’m a 17-year-old pupil at school in Cumbernauld and I’m the Inclusion Ambassador for North Lanarkshire.

I went to Luxembourg to represent Scotland in a Europe-wide inclusive education conference. When we were there I got a good idea of what was important for pupils all over Europe – the key message is “Everything about us, with us”. We want to be heard and we want to have a say in anything that has to do with us. We are the experts in our own needs and we know what works and what doesn’t.

This is not just a message for politicians. It is the teachers that make the immediate difference to how inclusive a school is.

Take my school – before I moved up to high school my year head met with my parents and me. We worked out barriers for me in and around the school, spoke with teachers in private to make sure they understood my needs and made a clear plan for every type of situation at school. This might all seem quite a bit of work for one pupil, yet this only took three meetings and it was all made so much easier because of the talking and listening that went on between me and the teacher.

Sadly, some pupils do not have such a good experience as me, which is why I’m pleased to be one of the Inclusion Ambassadors for Education Scotland. We are a national group of young people who act as a ‘voice’ for pupils on inclusion. We share our views and experiences with Scottish Government Ministers, local authorities and schools. We are hoping to develop resources, a school pledge and a film in the coming months.

Here are three of our top priorities to make schools more inclusive:

  • Social Problems: being excluded at break times and not having enough chances to be included and make friends are big issues. My school found a way around this by setting up a club where pupils could play computer games and socialise. This helped pupils who were often quiet to come out of their shell.
  • Issues with Support staff: For some pupils (but not all), having support staff can sometimes feel like a barrier to their social life, and they might not need them as they get older.
  • Awareness: We feel that there isn’t enough done by schools to raise awareness of the issues that pupils face or the reasons they need support. The worst thing schools can do is to pick out a specific pupil – that’s just everyone’s worst nightmare – but what schools can do is to educate the year group that other people have different needs and promote the fact that you are a diverse and inclusive school so it’s great to have all types of pupils.

For me, talking and listening are the key to true inclusion because without this everything you might be doing could be entirely irrelevant to the pupil. After all, how can you include someone who isn’t involved in the conversation?

 

 

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Tips on going to school meetings⤴

from @ Reach

You should get the chance to have your say at meetings to plan what you learn and the support you need. If you’re nervous about going to meetings you can take someone with you to help you get your views across.

Remember:

  • You know yourself better than anyone else does
  • Before you go into a meeting think about what’s important to you
  • Adults must listen to what you think is right for you
  • Getting involved can make you feel more in control of your life
  • There are people who can help you have a say. They are called advocates. Ask your school to help you find one.

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