Human Rights and Children
The UN Convention on the Rights of a Child 1989 – in 1989 the world leaders decided children needed a special convention just for them to give them special care and protection that adults do not need. All children up to the age of 18 have the rights in the convention. Some groups of children eg those living away from home or disabled children have additional rights to make sure they are treated fairly and their needs are met.
Every child in the UK is entitled to 40 specific rights, included in these are: the right to life, survival and development; to have their views respected; to have a name and nationality; freedom of expression, to live in a family environment or alternative care and have contact with parents wherever possible; to have health care and social security; to have an education, be able to take part in leisure, culture and arts; Special protection for refugee children, children in the juvenile justice system, deprived children and children suffering sexual, economic or other forms of exploitation.
These rights apply to all children with no exceptions. The Education Act 2002 – is an act to make provision about education, training and childcare. The act implements the legal requirements and commitments set out in the white paper Schools: Achieving success. It is intended to raise standards, promote innovation in schools and reform education law.
It covers everything from schools being able to innovate and raise standards, schools joining together and forming companies, setting a flexible governance framework that allows greater discretion at local levels, allowing schools to be used as a resource within the community, separating out the budget making it clearer how funding is divided up and setting a minimum schools budget and also additional methods of funding available, providing frameworks for admission, exclusion and attendance, sets the school curriculum distinguishing between the key stages, enables schools to be more flexible with their staffing, develop partnerships with other agencies and give effective support within the classroom and it also sets out the statutory duty schools have with regards to the protection and involvement of children. Further measures are introduced to ensure weak and failing schools are turned around as quickly as possible. Children Act 2004 and 2006 – reforms the law relating to children making provisions about the services provided to and for children in need by local authorities and other persons providing a wider strategy for improving children’s lives, targeting those with additional needs.
It makes provision about advisory and support services relating to family proceedings, to make provision about fostering, child minding and day care, adoption review panels, the defence of reasonable punishment, the making of grants as respects children and families, child safety orders, the publication of material relating to children involved in certain legal proceedings and disclosure of information relating to children. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 – if the establishment you work in is part of the public sector, the Freedom of Information Act means you must produce a publication scheme outlining the information that is routinely made available to the public eg minutes of meetings, annual reports or financial information. It also means official information must be disclosed when people ask for it (unless there is a good legal reason not to).
Schools must produce a school profile and school prospectus containing the latest Ofsted report and current performance levels. The Human Rights Act 1998 – its aim is to give further effect in the UK to the rights contained in the European Convention of Human Rights. The act applies to all public bodies within the UK, including the central government, local authorities and bodies exercising public functions. The act provides that it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way that contravenes the Convention Rights. The Human Rights Act affects all other laws – it says that every UK law must respect your convention Rights, public authorities cannot ignore your rights and that they can be taken to a UK court or tribunal if they do.
All UK courts and tribunals must take convention rights into account in all their rulings and not just in cases brought under the Human Rights Act. Special Educational Needs, codes of practise (SEN) 2001- it includes the rights and duties introduced by the SEN and Disability Act 2001. Local Education Authorities, schools, early education settings, health and social services must all have regard to the Code of Practice. It sets out a model of intervention, early education settings action and early years action plus and in school settings a school action and school action plus. The code puts emphasis on working with parents, pupil participation and working in partnerships with other agencies.
It includes a stronger right for children with Special Education Needs to be educated in a mainstream school, a requirement that Local Educational Authorities provide services offering advice and information and means of resolving disputes, a new duty on schools and relevant Early Years providers to keep parents informed when they are making special educational provisions for their child, and the right for schools and relevant educational providers to request a statutory assessment of a child. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995/2005 – under the act it is unlawful for a school or other education provider to treat a disabled pupil unfavourably. They should not either directly or indirectly discriminate against the child arising from a disability.
For example a pupil cannot be refused admission simply because they are disabled, a pupil can’t not be stopped from doing something because it takes them to long to do it. Pupils should not be harassed because of their disability, a teacher cannot shout a disabled pupil if the disability means they are unable to concentrate. The school must provide reasonable adjustments to ensure the pupil is not discriminated against. Data Protection Act 1998 – protects personal data in the UK. It gives people the fundamental rights and freedoms to their right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data. Personal data must be obtained fairly and lawfully, data should only be used for the specific purpose it was collected.
The data subject should be informed of the who the data controller (institution), the purpose for which the data is intended. The data must be kept accurate and up to date and shall not be kept for longer then necessary. Schools must keep formal pupil records that are updated once a year, under the data protection act all pupils are entitled to have their educational records disclosed to them. There is certain information that is exempt from disclosure, information that could cause serious harm to the pupil or someone else or that would put them at risk, but this information may be passed to another educational establishment. Disclosure is permissible if the record does not allow identification of the third party.
Every Child Matters Agenda 2004 – its main aims are for every child, whatever their background or circumstances, to have the support they need to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve an economic well-being. It requires multi-agency partnerships working together to achieve to be aware of the contribution by each others’ service and to deliver their work with children accordingly. In my role I support the child to help them achieve to the best of their ability. I have to respect the rights of every child with whom I work and not discriminate against any child because of their nationality, disability etc.
I must ensure they are as inclusive as possible and respect their privacy, but also work closely with teachers, support staff within the school and sometimes if required any outside agencies involved to ensure the child has as much support as possible where needed. 4. 3 (a) (b) Explain the roles of regulatory bodies relevant to the education sector including general bodies and school specific regulatory bodies. The regulatory bodies relevant to the education sector are there to monitor and enforce legislative framework, they include: Criminal Records Bureau – provides access to check the criminal records of all staff and volunteers working within organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors, making it easier to identify people who may be unsuitable for work involving children or vulnerable adults.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – continually work with other government departments and agencies to ensure that pupil safety and employee safety are properly considered and duly protected. They ensure that education duty holders manage any significant risks within school premises eg requirements are met for managing asbestos; slips and trips. It also encourages a common sense approach to risk management; all risks should be managed responsibly and sensibly whilst still providing children with a range of valuable learning experiences. Any major accidents or injuries must be notified to the HSE. Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.
They regulate and inspect to ensure children’s services in local areas are achieving excellence in the care of children and young people including services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection. They are independent from the government ministers and report directly to Parliament so they can give impartial information. They carry out large numbers of inspections and regulatory visits in England seeking to promote areas of improvement and encourage services to provide value for money. All their findings are published on their website. Local Education Authority (LEA) – have the responsibility for education and children’s services. For state schools in their area they organise funding, allocate the number of places available at each school and employ all teachers (except voluntary aided and foundation schools).