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LAST MODIFIED ON: 02/02/2018 - 14:19
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The main initiatives for promoting intercultural awareness in young people take place in formal education.
The promotion of equality and diversity is an important aspiration in the Curriculum for Excellence (Education Scotland), the Scottish curriculum for three to 18 year olds. 2011's Developing Global Citizens Within Curriculum for Excellence aims to support children and young people to become active global citizens and contains three main areas of learning:
- education for citizenship, which develops the rights and responsibilities of children and young people and encourages them to take thoughtful and responsible action
- international education, which prepares children and young people for life and active participation in a multicultural society and gives them an understanding of Scotland's place in the world
- sustainable education, which enables children and young people to recognise the interdependence of people and the environment.
Promoting Diversity and Equality: Developing Responsible Citizens for 21st Century Scotland was published in 2015 by Education Scotland, the national body for quality and improvement in Scottish education. The resource is intended to help schools and educational centres to promote diversity and equality in all instances of planned learning, and provides best practice examples of how to carry this out. Tackling sectarianism is a feature of the resource; recommendations to schools include:
- overtly respecting the rights of children and pupils;
- encouraging children and young people to learn about their own and other cultures;
- allowing children to build relationships with children from different communities to their own;
- monitoring the promotion of equalities; and different schools sharing buildings and activities.
Within the Scottish curriculum, Social Studies, Health and Wellbeing, and Religious and Moral education contribute toward developing children and young people’s understanding of the world, by teaching them about other societies, cultures, beliefs and values, attitudes and practices. For more information on each curriculum area, visit Education Scotland.
Young people's rights
Children and young people's rights are set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) of which the UK is a signatory. The Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland is responsible for promoting and safeguarding these rights, under the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003. The Commissioner scrutinises proposed legislation by the UK and Scottish Governments to ensure that children's rights are upheld in Scotland.
The Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland's website provides resources, including worksheets, leaflets and workshops, for children and young people about their rights, and the Commissioner's role in protecting these rights (See ‘Governance’ in 'Administration and Governance' for more information). The Commissioner’s most recent annual progress report was published in Oct 2018, and outlined the work and contribution it’s team has made in certain policy fields, this includes: participation, education, child protection, healthcare, domestic abuse, and trafficking. Recognising that further work to raise awareness of young people's rights amongst young people is needed, the Scottish Government passed the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act in 2014. This places a new duty on Scottish Ministers to promote public awareness and understanding of the rights of children. Under the Act, Ministers are required to publish a report every three years, which details the actions they have taken both in order to further UNCRC requirements in Scotland and to promote awareness and understanding of children's rights. The first of these reports is due to be presented to the Scottish Parliament in 2017.
Following the passing of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, Education Scotland produced a national professional development resource for adults working with children and young people to develop their knowledge of the UNCRC.
In 2019, Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights published the State of Children's Rights in Scotland, which looks at the steps being taken to fulfill the human rights of children living in Scotland. One of the key findings includes concerns raised about the impact that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) may have on the overall human rights framework across the UK, including on children’s rights. The use of Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIA) at a national level has also been strongly welcomed by Together’s members, who recognise the role they play in ensuring children’s rights are adequately reflected in policy development.
There a number of pieces of legislation setting out rights; covering both young people and adults:
The Human Rights Act 1998 gives citizens a clear legal statement of their basic rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Equality Act 2010 extends previous equality legislation and seeks to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. Under the Act, the following are ‘protected characteristics’, the categories to which the law applies: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. Protection from discrimination is valid in schools, colleges, work places, clubs, youth service, hospitals, and council services.
The Data Protection Act 2018 controls how an individual’s personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government. It updates the UK’s previous data protection laws to be more appropriate for the UK’s digital economy and society, hence it repeals the Data Protection Act 1998. It applies the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK legislation in preparation for when the UK leaves the European Union. The Act broadens the scope of individual’s data and information it protects to all general data, law enforcement data, and national security data, in order to protect the privacy and rights of individuals. Individuals are given more power and control of their data: to know what data is held about them, how it is being used, and when it should be deleted. The Act provides further protection to children’s data; the Information Commissioner’s Office provides a summary:
- to process children’s data online, children, aged 13 and over, can provide consent without parental consent (unless it is for a preventative or counselling service);
- when processing data of children under the age of 13, reasonable efforts must be made to verify the person providing parental consent holds parental responsibility for the child;
- privacy notices and processes must be designed to allow children to easily understand and access, to exercise their data protection rights, and erase their personal data;
- if the original processing was based on consent when the individual was a child, erasure of that data when requested must be complied; and
- children’s personal data for marketing purposes, user profiles or creating personality, have specific protection.
However, under the Act, it specifies in Section 208, that in Scotland:
- a person aged 12 or over, is of sufficient age and maturity to have an understanding of what it means to give consent.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives individuals the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations. The Information Commissioner's Office provides advice for education providers on how to comply with the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts.
Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism
The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 made the Prevent Duty a statutory duty for all local authorities, early years providers, schools and higher and further education establishments to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into radicalisation. This UK-wide duty has three strategic objectives:
- responding to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat posed by those who promote it
- preventing people from being drawn into terrorism and ensuring they are given appropriate advice and support
- working with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation.
Prevent is one of four strands of CONTEST, which is the UK Government’s 2011 counter-terrorism strategy. General Scotland specific guidance, guidance for further education and higher education institutions has been published. Furthermore, a Prevent e-learning training package and PREVENT training courses are available.
The Scottish Preventing Violent Extremism Unit (SPVEU), staffed by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland, is responsible for delivering the Prevent strand of the CONTEST Strategy in Scotland.
Channel is a police-led multi-agency approach, within the Prevent strategy, to protect people at risk from radicalisation. Channel uses existing collaboration between local authorities and statutory partners, as reflected on the Safeguarding Board: schools; health, police, youth offending services, youth services, children’s social care and education. All partners are required to:
- identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism
- assess the nature and extent of that risk
- develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.
The aim of Channel is to safeguard children, young people and adults, and to prevent them from being drawn into committing terrorist related activity. It aims to ensure that vulnerable children, young people and adults of any faith, ethnicity and background receive support before their vulnerabilities are exploited by those who want them to embrace terrorism and before they become involved in criminal terrorist activity.
Furthermore, in 2017 the government published a new action plan, the ‘National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People’, it sets out the government’s plans to ensure internet safety for children and young people:
- improve digital literacy of children and young people by implementing the new Technologies Curriculum guidance, the government and Education Scotland will assist local authorities in implementing this;
- ensure schools deliver education on staying safe online and responsible use;
- develop resources on internet safety for children and young people through Education Scotland and Digital Schools Awards Scotland.
This action plan assists and supports the objective of Prevent (see above for more information).
Education Scotland plays a key part in supporting schools to adhere to their duties under Prevent. It provides learning and assessment resources for school leaders, teachers, practitioners and partners to understand the Prevent strategy, and to understand and improve their role in supporting children and young people with issues regarding extremism and terrorism. In addition, the Curriculum for Excellence emphasises learning experiences which enable children and young people to become more open-minded and empathetic towards each other. One of its four key capacities also focuses on enabling children and young people to become responsible citizens.