As Scotland moves towards legal incorporation of the UNCRC, and in a year that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child voted to incorporate children’s environmental rights under the 26th General Comment, the demonstration of Scotland’s commitment to children’s participation rights is critical.
Scotland’s Learning for Sustainability curriculum is rooted in the UNCRC, including Articles 29 and 12, ensuring children’s education fosters respect for the environment and their right to participate in matters affecting them. Despite this, Scottish children have expressed a lack of involvement in their learning, especially regarding the climate crisis and outdoor education. This gap was highlighted by Members of Children’s Parliament in our first Learning for Sustainability (Part 1) consultation with children. The consultation findings emphasized the need for a more inclusive and participatory approach to the curriculum in Scotland.
Project Aims and Approaches
By applying a rights-based approach to curriculum that is fit for the current context, we are celebrating a move towards a more inclusive, informed, and sustainable future for everyone in Scotland. Our aim is for children to contribute their amazing ideas and childhood expertise to a Learning for Sustainability curriculum. Our hope is that this new curriculum builds the capacity of every child in Scotland and through their experience of participation. We hope this also provides an antidote to the rising climate anxiety children expressed in the first consultation.
Children’s Parliament has been commissioned by Scottish Government to return to two schools that took part in the first Learning for Sustainability consultation to support their participation in the implementation of new Learning for Sustainability guidelines published by Scottish Government in their Target 2030 Action Plan . This new programme of work will run from September 2023 to July 2024, aligning with the meetings of the new Action Plan Leadership Group.
For the Learning for Sustainability (Part 2) consultation, 53 Members of Children’s Parliament are completing a series of workshops, class Mission activities, and online calls. We will explore their views and ideas on what needs to happen in Scotland to implement the new Action Plan in a way that meets their rights under the UNCRC. To support this, ten Investigator MCPs will be supported to participate in the decision-making processes of the Learning for Sustainability Leadership Group, chaired by Scottish Government.
This builds on children’s Calls to Action from across our work on Scotland’s Climate Assembly and the subsequent Learning for Sustainability (Part 1). Throughout their engagement, Members of Children’s Parliament have consistently called for more holistic, participatory, and rights-based climate, outdoor, and sustainability education to match the urgency of the current climate emergency and its threat to children’s human rights.