Helm have recently submitted their response on this important current consultation being led by Scottish Government, which you can read in full here. If you want to take part, you can get involved by clicking on this link. Responses need to be in by 26 September 2018.
A link to a summary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is provided here.
A brief summary of Helm’s response is below :
The consultation asks for responses around actions needed to strengthen existing approaches or address current gaps in our national strategy.
We noted how important we all believe as a society that education is for everyone and our national pride in our schools and education system, our many great teachers and school leaders.
However, we also noted that our national data continues to show unequivocally that our schools do not work for everyone. While the attainment gap has narrowed, educational outcomes for those with experience of childhood adversity*, especially those looked after at home or in kinship care, remain unacceptably low, affecting a population of some 9,000 children and young people in Scotland in 2018. This shows we are still falling significantly short of what we should expect of ourselves as a nation which respects the right of all children to an education which works for them (Articles 28 and 29).
Young people facing the challenges of adversity have the same range of abilities as everyone, and want the same things in life as everyone else. When working at Helm (and in other programmes across Scotland) young people clearly show that a trauma informed, strengths based approach works for them, and with the help of a diverse range of learning opportunities and good relationships, they will set their own goals, work hard towards them, and achieve well.
In order to support Scotland further improve how we ensure all our children can exercise their rights to a universal education which works for them, especially those who are affected by trauma (Article 39) we have :
- proposed that our schools are directed and enabled to work towards the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award, which has been shown to improve engagement, relationships and attainment, as well as increasing Children’s Rights awareness and knowledge of everyone involved
- suggested actions to further strengthen the reach of the proposed participation programme, to ensure young people with experience of adversity are fully included
- proposed a national strategy is developed to embed trauma informed practice as a whole school approach in all our schools, to help our schools become fully inclusive, and give all our children a fair chance to achieve well.
- proposed this strategy should be co-designed with young people and their families who have not thrived in mainstream education.
- called for best practice sharing with providers who are already using this approach successfully with young people, both here in Scotland, and internationally
- Finally, we note that we want to see the full incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law in Scotland. We have therefore urged the government in our response to set this as a clear outcome of their current action plan, rather than as this is currently worded, where this just remains an option
*traumatic experiences including neglect, abuse or loss