In Scotland, children have the right to be involved in decisions about their support at school. A lot of the time, children are supported by parents, carers or adults at school to take part in these conversations. But sometimes, it can be hard for children to speak up if they feel they aren’t being heard or getting the support they need.
My Rights, My Say advocacy support helps children with additional support needs aged 12 – 15 share their views and speak up about what’s important to them at school.
Advocacy can help a child if they want to use their rights to have a say or be involved in decisions about their support.
They may want help to tell their school they are:
– struggling with schoolwork
– not feeling included in school life
– being bullied
– missing school
– being excluded or sent home
– not feeling like they have enough of a say in the type of support they get
– not feeling they can be in school
– a young carer or care experienced.
My Rights, My Say advocacy support is provided by Partners in Advocacy workers who are:
– independent of the child’s school or local authority
– well trained with experience of working with children with additional support needs.
The advocacy worker will help a child by:
– explaining their rights to support at school
– listening to them and helping them work out what they want to say
– attending school meetings with them
– standing up for their rights
– supporting them to feel confident to speak up at meetings
– empowering them to speak for themselves
– helping them understand why decisions have been made if they are different to what they wanted
– explaining other options open to them.
The advocacy worker will not:
– act on behalf of a child’s parent or carer
– tell the child, family or local authority what they think is best for the child
– make a decision on behalf of the child or family
– share personal details unless they have permission to or have serious concerns about someone’s safety.
No. A child has the right to ask for a My Rights, My Say advocate for themselves without needing permission from their parent or carer.
Like will all the rights, it must be agreed that the child has capacity (know what they are asking for) and that using this right wouldn’t negative impact their wellbeing.
Yes. There is no charge to the child, their parent or carer to use My Rights, My Say advocacy.
Find out how My Rights, My Say advocacy helped Mhairi, Charlie and Rehan.
Not all children will want to or be able to use their right to an advocate. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be involved in decisions. The My Rights, My Say Children’s Views service can help with this.
The Children’s View’s service provides independent support to help make sure children’s views are heard in formal processes, like assessments, planning or sorting out disagreements. The Children’s Views service will provide a written report of a child’s views in response to key questions or issues. We can also support children to attend meetings to share their views as well.
We provide support to help a child share their views that is separate from the school, the local authority and their family. This can be important as it gives a child space separate from others involved in the decision making process to think about what they want to say.
My Rights, My Say also provide help to resolve disagreements. Find out more in the section on Solving problems.
What children say about My Rights, My Say support…..
“The teachers were listening. It’s much better now. I feel better. I can speak in meetings” Pupil
“Thanks for all the help. You’ve changed my life for the better.” Pupil
“You are a star- thanks so much for coming to my meeting. It was a real help.” Pupil
“Advocacy really helped me when I was struggling with a lot of things at home and school. It helped easy my stress having someone to talk to when I was worried.” Pupil
“I wouldn’t have spoken to the school myself. My advocy worker let school know about my needs, the year head met me and told me if there was anything I needed I could talk to him.” Pupil
“Knowing I have other people that can help me when I am stressed. It (advocacy) has opened doors that I wouldn’t have had before, it has really helped me” Pupil