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How to use Your Rights

You have the right to support with your learning in order for you to do the best you can.

If you think you need more or different help at school, then here are some ideas that could help:

  1. Talk to an adult you trust about how you’re feeling. This could be a teacher or a family member. They can help you work out what needs to change in order for you to get the support you need.
  2. Find out more about the different types of support available to you. The REACH advice pages have lots of information that can help.
  3. If you’re aged between 12 and 15, you can contact My Rights, My Say to help you have a say in planning your learning and support.

Rights in real life

stories of pupils using their rights in school

Children have a human rights law that’s just for them…

It’s called the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC for short.

The UNCRC is made up of lots of rights, which are like promises from adults to children about how they should be treated. These rights, or promises, are written into sections that are called ‘articles’. All of the articles are numbered and there are 54 in total!

The stories below explain how some pupils have used their UNCRC rights in real life:

Callan’s story

Callan is 14-years-old and goes to a mainstream school. He has ADHD and is also a young carer for his mum. He finds it very difficult to talk to the staff at school and gets into trouble for getting angry and running away.

Callan’s mum is unwell and too anxious to speak to his teachers about how Callan is feeling. Even though things at school weren’t going very well for Callan, he still had the right to an education.

The school then asked My Rights, My Say to find out what Callan felt the school could do differently to support him. Callan agreed to meet with a My Rights, My Say worker on an online video call. They spent time talking about his school day and Callan shared that he struggles in school because he can’t sit still. He also said he’s worried about his mum when he’s at school which distracts him.

By talking through his ideas about how the school could better support him with his learning, Callan and his school were able to put some things in place to help him. This included more time with an advocacy worker who helped Callan to support his relationship with the school. He also asked for the school to find out if he and his mum could get more help in the house as Callan felt overwhelmed looking after his mum.

This is just one example of how My Rights, My Say can help pupils aged 12-15 exercise their rights to be involved in decisions about their support in school. You can find out if they can help you on their website.

UNCRC Article 28

Kirsty’s story

Kirsty is 12-years-old and in P7. She is deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate at school. Last year she wrote a letter to all the teachers to tell them about how she feels coming to school without her implant to help her hear. In her letter, she shared how difficult it can be at school and how she feels when she can’t hear what’s going on.

She then went onto explain how good BSL is and how it can improve relationships between hearing and non-hearing people. The headteacher of her school had a discussion with her about how they could include BSL in more of school life. Kirsty is helping to lead on this and has created lists of signs to teach the whole school each week during assembly and has prepared a Deaf Awareness presentation for the classes.

By listening and taking seriously Kirsty’s views and opinions about her additional support need, the school helped her to use her rights. This has in turn helped make her school more inclusive and has supported Kirsty with her learning.

If, like Kirsty, you want something to change at your school, a good first step is to try talking to your teacher.

UNCRC Article 12

You have the right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and taken seriously

Watch this animation about rights

This great animation has more information about your rights and stories about how children in Scotland have used their rights in real life.

are you aged 12-15?

My Rights, My Say can help you!

My Rights, My Say can help you to make sure your voice is heard. They help pupils aged between 12 and 15 to use their rights to make sure they get the support they need at school.

An adult can put you in touch with My Rights, My Say or you can contact them yourself.

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