Report suggests pupil participation in school life is key to doing well

Categories: Education, including vocational education and Respect for the views of the child

10th February 2015

Schools that encourage young people to participate in how they're run are also schools where pupils do well, highlights new research conducted for Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People.

How Young People's Participation in School Supports Achievement and Attainment interviewed pupils at seven schools with higher than expected exam results in catchment areas within more deprived areas of Scotland. The research aimed to find out if schools were addressing pupils' participation and rights in ways that were distinctively supportive of pupil achievement and attainment.

The report, which was published on 10th February 2015, suggests that pupils did well regardless of money or other factors.

It also found that pupils in all seven schools:
- had substantial opportunities to formally and informally take part in activities
- were able to take responsibility for events
- could make contributions to school life
- had their views considered in matters that affected them.

Speaking about the research, the Commissioner said:

"How Young People's Participation in School Supports Achievement and Attainment" provides welcome evidence that children's rights should not be an add-on in any school, but embedded throughout. My message is that a rights-based education which includes opportunities for engagement in real decision making is a good underpinning for raising achievement and attainment."

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) requires State parties to the Convention to fulfil the rights of every child to education and participation. UK governments are required under Articles 28 and 29 of the UNCRC to recognise the right of all children to education on the basis of equal opportunity and directed to the development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. Under Article 12, State parties must ensure that all children have a right to express their views in relation to matters affecting them.

In addition, the 2008 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Concluding Observations to the UK included a recommendation for UK governments to 'strengthen children's participation in all matters of school, classroom and learning which affect them.'

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