In Scotland, children and young people have many rights which are part of the law.
In this section, you can find out more about what that looks like and what that means for your support at school.
All children and young people have rights in school
All children in Scotland have a right to a school education from age 5 to 16.
School should help you develop your personality, talents and mental and physical abilities so that you can reach your full potential. Your background, disability, gender or religion should not impact on this in any way.
Every pupil has the right to be supported, included and listened to throughout their education.
what rights might look like in your school
In Scotland, there are laws and guidance that have been created to help you use your rights. Here you can find out more about what that means for you and some of things adults are responsible for making sure happens.
Schools should do their best to make sure all pupils can be involved in everything to do with their education. And all pupils have a right to the support they need to help them learn.
The Scottish Government has set out four key features of inclusion to explain what it means and what pupils can expect:
Schools should be a safe place for all pupils to feel able to attend in person. Some pupils who can’t attend school may learn in other ways, such as online.
Participation is about pupils being involved in the wider school community, as well as doing schoolwork and homework. This includes taking part in trips, events and other extra-curricular activities.
The law says that each pupil’s education should help them develop their personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.
If a pupil needs extra help with their learning, for any reason, they have a right to receive the support they need to do their best at school.
Schools must treat all pupils fairly and with respect. Treating pupils fairly may not mean treating everyone in exactly the same way. Schools may need to change the way they do things to help each pupil get the best from their education.
There is a law called the Equality Act 2010 which says that all schools in Scotland must protect pupils from discrimination. Discrimination is when a person is treated unfairly because of who they are. For example, it is against the law to discriminate against pupils because of a disability, their gender, their race or their religion.
Disabled pupils have extra protection under the Equality Act.
GIRFEC is short for Getting it Right for Every Child.
In Scotland GIRFEC helps the adults who support you to work together to make sure you are ok and that you get the support you need.
Find out what GIRFEC is and what it means for you and your support.
All children and young people who need help with their learning should get the support they need to do the best they can at school, whether they are disabled or not.
Your school must do what they can to help make sure disabled pupils aren’t treated unfairly, which could put and them at a disadvantage compared to other children and young people.
Under the Equality Act, disabled pupils are protected from several different kinds of discrimination including:
Treating a disabled pupil less favourably than a non-disabled pupil because of their disability.
Eg. excluding a pupil because of the way they behave because of their disability.
Doing something for the whole school that could exclude disabled pupils.
Eg. organising a school trip a disabled pupil wouldn’t be able to go on.
Schools must change the way they do things to avoid putting disabled pupils at a disadvantage. This is called “reasonable adjustments”.
Eg. giving a pupil who has a physical disability and might find it difficult to write notes from the lesson.
Pupils aged 12-15
There is a service in Scotland called My Rights, My Say who support children aged 12-15 with additional support needs to exercise their rights to be involved in decisions about their support in school.
It’s independent, confidential, easy to use, and help support you to make sure your voice is heard. Find out more about My Rights, My Say and how they can help you in the section below, or by clicking this button to visit their website.
Watch this animation about
My Rights, My Say
You’re in Control is an animation that explains how the My Rights, My Say Children’s Views service works.
My Rights, My Say can help you to use your rights at school. If you are aged between 12 and 15 and feel like you need help to have your say at school, you can ask My Rights, My Say to support you.
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More About Your Rights
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