Children’s Parliament Investigates Our Health and Wellbeing Curriculum

What do children think needs to happen when it comes to their school environment, learning for health and wellbeing and how they access and experience personal support?

In this Children’s Parliament Investigation, the intention was to produce both learner insight and practical ‘how to’ approaches to enhance the delivery and experience of the Health and Wellbeing curriculum in our schools

“By having a say, I don’t feel like an ordinary child, I feel like something more.

MCP, age 10

The project produced a number of Calls to Action. It is important to our Investigators that these apply to both primary and secondary schools.

  • A Happy, Healthy and Safe School Environment
  • Make schools bright, beautiful and welcoming places.
  • Make sure everyone understands, and respects, children’s human right
  • Create opportunities for adults to learn from children about listening, being kind and respecting children’s human rights.
  • Make our schools free from all bullying.
  • Make Health and Wellbeing topics a clear part of children’s learning throughout primary and secondary school.
  • Make learning about mental, emotional and physical wellbeing a regular part of timetabled classes.
  • Listen to children’s experiences and feelings regularly
  • Make school an active place to be with more clubs and outdoor learning.
  • Make schools places where children learn about, cook and enjoy food
  • Make learning about Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood something that all children do.
  • Start learning about substance misuse in primary school and make it about more than just smoking. Older pupils can help younger pupils learn.

Engaging on Health and Wellbeing

In March and April 2020, Children’s Parliament worked with 19 experienced Members of Children’s Parliament (MCPs) from three local authorities: City of Edinburgh, Aberdeen City and East Lothian. Given their experience as MCPs, and knowledge and understanding of children’s human rights, the children were well prepared to undertake the role of MCP Investigators for this investigation.

The investigation was designed to take place in the children’s schools. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the process was adapted in line with the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 legislation, policies and guidance and so workshops were a mix of face-toface and Zoom sessions. Adapting to the emerging circumstances, Investigators received individual Investigator Toolkits made up of activities to be completed before or after a complementary series of group sessions facilitated by the Children’s Parliament workers.

The findings outlined in this report are in response to a series of questions, which guided the investigation.

Education Scotland is pleased to see the publication of this report. It was commissioned by Education Scotland as part of the Personal and Social Education Review recommendations to ensure that learner engagement and co-design of Health and Wellbeing programmes is strengthened.  As we look forward to Children’s Parliament’s Year of Childhood 2021 plans, we hope to see further examples of how as educators we build on our commitment to Learner Empowerment and Participation within an empowered system.

Gayle Gorman, HM Chief Inspector of Education and Chief Executive, Education Scotland

Commissioned by Education Scotland

Date: 2020
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