A rights-based approach, with the learner at the centre, is how we will create and deliver the kind of education that learners need for the future. We believe a rights-based approach must include a strengthened role for youth work within a more collaborative and enhanced system.

Professor Ken Muir’s report Putting Learners at the Centre: Towards a Future Vision for Scottish Education recommended a number of structural and cultural changes, to take forward the OECD recommendations[1] and deliver excellence and equity in education. One of these was to have a national discussion to create a ‘compelling and consensual vision’ for Scottish education. His report called for the discussion to consider the vision for Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and how the education system seeks to address the purposes described in Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The process would require a cultural and mindset shift, including according narrative privilege to all those with an interest.

Education reform is an opportunity to transform our education system. ‘Putting Learners at the Centre’ is key to achieving the ambitions laid out in Ken Muir’s report and delivering the OECD recommendations. A rights-based vision and approach is the only way to achieve excellence and equity through Scottish education and to get it right for every child and young person.

This is crucially important as Scotland moves to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law. Education reform provides us with an opportunity to create a system of education that supports “the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential”[2]. We believe an equitable and rights-based offer for all learners around education must include access to youth work opportunities.

YouthLink Scotland worked with youth workers across Scotland to gather the views of 738 young people who participate in youth work which reinforces the need to take this position. A summary report of findings has been submitted separately and can be found here.

[1] https://www.oecd.org/education/scotland-s-curriculum-for-excellence-bf624417-en.htm

[2] The Right to Education – UNICEF UK

YouthLink Scotland – Response to National Discussion on Education.pdf

Views of young people participating in youth work_web.pdf