Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that children’s voices should be heard in decisions that affect them, and that your opinions should be taken seriously by adults.
There is no law saying that schools must do this, but some schools want to go above and beyond the basic rights.
Some ways to get involved and have your voice heard at school are:
1. UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award
This uses the UNCRC to help schools learn about rights, embed rights in their ethos, and promote rights to others. Speak to a teacher at school about having your school registered. Find out more about the Award.
2. Join a pupil or student council
This is usually an elected group of pupils who make decisions with teachers on issues related to school life.
3. Set up a Gender & Sexual Orientation Alliance (GSA)
A GSA can make LGBT+ pupils feel more included and able to take part, as well as helping to prevent bullying at school. LGBT Youth have some advice on how you can form one.
4. Sit in on parent or teacher meetings
Have a pupil (or more than one!) sit in on the Parent Council or on teacher’s Senior Management Team meetings to represent pupils’ views on the topics they discuss.
5. Become an Eco-School
Get involved in the pupil-led Eco-Committee to help your school become greener and more sustainable.
Think national and start a campaign about an educational issue you care about. You can read about the Time for Inclusive Education campaign for LGBT inclusive education or Girlguiding Scotland’s End to Period Poverty campaign to get inspired!
If you are interested in making these happen at your own school, talk to a teacher to kick things off!
If you’re in college or university, you should have a Students’ Association that looks out for your interests. Check the NUS Scotland website to see if your college is listed. Students’ associations are usually led by a team of elected students.
Your students’ association could help with:
- Representing your interests on academic matters and other college issues
- Providing independent advice and support
- Supporting student-run sports clubs and societies
- Helping you to run for student election
You’re automatically a member of your students’ association when you enrol at your college or university.
Visit the Activate Your Rights homepage to find out more about your rights.