What are my rights?
Your rights are set out in an international human rights treaty called the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (or the UNCRC for short).
Almost every country in the world – including the UK – has agreed to make sure your rights are protected by signing up to the UNCRC.
The UNCRC sets out a long list of the rights that you have. It calls these rights ‘articles’. Here are some examples of your rights:
- your best interests must always come first (article 3)
- you have the right to an education (article 28)
- your views must be considered and taken into account in all matters affecting you (article 12).
My rights to be supported and listened to at school in Scotland
The government in Scotland wants every child and young person to get a good education and to get the help they need to do as well as they can in school. No matter how old you are, you have the right to get extra support at school to get the most out of your education. You have the right to be listened to and involved in decisions made about your support.
The Scottish Government think that children aged 12 and over should have the right to be even more involved in decisions about their support.
This means that once you reach your 12th birthday, you have the right to:
- ask your school to find out if you need extra support
- have your say in plans and decisions made about the support you get
- have someone with you at meetings to help you share your views and understand what’s going on
- question plans made for you or make an appeal if you’re not happy with what your plans say
- get help to sort out any disagreements about your support.
Teachers work hard to assess whether you need extra support. Or you, your parents or carers can talk to the school about what you are finding difficult and agree what might help. But if this doesn’t happen, or you feel that people are not listening to your views, you can use your rights listed above.
If you are 16 or over….
If you’re 16 or over, you can act on your own behalf (unless people don’t think you’re able to). Your school should ask you for your views and send letters about your education or support directly to you. You have all the same rights as 12 – 15 year olds, but you also get to make other big decisions for yourself – like choosing which school you go to or when to leave school.
Need help to use your rights?
If you are aged 12 – 15, you can get help to use your rights from a service called My Rights, My Say.