Children’s Parliament has developed an approach we call an Investigation. In an investigation children are supported to explore a topic, present findings and produce resources to progress the rights and wellbeing of children. Each investigation, reflecting the nature of co-production, takes a bespoke approach. Topics that have been investigated so far by the members of Children’s Parliament (MCPs) include: Bullying, Alcohol-free Childhood, and Health and Wellbeing Curriculum. In the summer 2021, we commenced a new project to support our members to investigate how Professionals can make rights real.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is being incorporated into Scots law. This further highlights the responsibilities of adults as duty-bearers to promote, protect and achieve children’s human rights. The individual teacher, social worker, health professional, police officer etc. has always been recognised by MCPs as a key ally in the delivery of the experience of rights for children day-to-day whether at school, within service provision or in the community.
“It shouldn’t be just about following the law, but also about everyone knowing about their rights.”
“All adults, like teachers and PSAs need to know children’s rights so they understand what’s going on and what the child’s rights are if they make a complaint.”
The Children’s Parliament Investigates: How Professionals Make Rights Real programme explores specifically the role of a professional post-UNCRC incorporation, and will co-produce learning materials with children that will build knowledge, confidence and competence in their important role as duty-bearers in the context of children’s human rights as law.
This investigation takes place in 2 local areas: East Lothian and Clackmannanshire. In each area, 6 children are invited from 2 primary schools to form an investigation team. The Investigators are between 9 and 11 years old.
To start with, we support over 100 P6 children in the participating schools to take part in workshops to learn about children’s human rights and the incorporation of UNCRC. They help identify the key professional adults. Throughout the process they form the base of peer support and act as a sounding board for the Investigators.
During the project, the MCPs will investigate what it means to be a professional, how adults work with children, and apply what they’ve learned about Children’s Rights to co-design interviews and workshops for adult professionals. Supported by Children’s Parliament staff, they will use their creativity, knowledge and experience to make the adult participants’ experience fun, inclusive and purposeful. Find out what they have been up to so far!
Towards the end of the investigation, the Investigators will use what they’ve found out about Children’s Rights and the ways that professionals work to co-produce a learning resource. The resource is available to any professionals who would like to strengthen their rights-based practice.
The video below demonstrates the investigation process in East Lothian.