Young people have the right to participate in decisions that affect them in service provision. They also learn a lot through taking part decisions in democratic ways. Participation in decision making in schools is therefore core to effective education in thriving democracies. However, empirical research has shown that often learners’ participation does not always happen effectively and gets limited to pupil councils or tokenistic consultations.
In Scotland, research by University of Stirling has shown that young people highly value opportunities for having a say throughout school life, in class, in governance groups, in the wider curriculum, and in connection to the community. In secondary schools in areas of deprivation, where participation opportunities existed, pupils reported that their achievements and attainments were also positively impacted.
In policy, new guidance documents, Learner Participation in Educational Settings 3-18 and ‘How good is OUR school? A resource to support learner participation in self-evaluation and school improvement’ provide fresh opportunities for schools and early years providers to consider anew how learner participation is understood and supported.
This event on November 7th – organized through the Stirling Network for Curriculum Studies (Faculty of Social Sciences) – will afford an opportunity to learn about the research, the links to current policy, and a chance to critically appraise and reflect on this field.
Practitioners, school managers, policy advisors, local authority personnel, curriculum designers and academics are invited to hear keynote speakers and engage in debate at this event.
Keynote speakers will include Professor Laura Lundy (Queens University Belfast), Bruce Adamson (the Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland), Professor Mark Priestley (University of Stirling), Dr Greg Mannion (University of Stirling) - details below.
2:30 - 3:00 Registration and networking (refreshments on arrival)
3:00 - 3:15 Welcome and Introduction - Dr Greg Mannion
3:15 - 3.45 Mr Bruce Adamson, Commissioner for Children and Young People Scotland
3.45 - 3.55 Mark Priestley, Stirling Network for Curriculum Studies
3.55 - 4.05 Comfort break
4.05 – 4:45 Keynote: Professor Laura Lundy, Queen’s University, Belfast
4.45 – 5:30 Coffee – into Group Discussion
5:30 – 6:00 Feedback - Panel Discussion of Questions Arising
Before becoming the Commissioner in May 2017, Bruce worked as a lawyer. In this role, he built up over 20 years of experience working on children’s rights issues. Bruce has also been a Member of the Children’s Panel for 13 years, a United Nations Representative for the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, and Chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre. Read more.
Professor Laura Lundy
Laura Lundy is Co-Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights and a Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is co-Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Children’s Rights. Her expertise is in children’s right to participate in decision-making and education rights. Read more.
Professor Mark Priestley
Mark Priestley is the Director of the Stirling Network for Curriculum Studies, based in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Mark's research interests relate to curriculum theory, policy and practice, and the professional work of teachers. Current research concerns teachers and curriculum development (through critical collaborative professional enquiry) in Scotland and Wales, curriculum narrowing in Scotland, and teachers working conditions in Scotland. He is also working with colleagues in a range of countries (including Cyprus, Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Canada) to develop understanding of the ways in which curriculum policy is mediated and enacted in diverse ways. Read more.
Dr Greg Mannion
Greg Mannion is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences (Education), University of Stirling. His research brings together theories of participation and child rights, intergenerational education, person-place relations, nature and culture. Much of his research looks at the way lived experiences of practices and places can be important in the participation and learning for children and young people alongside adults and communities. In recent projects, his research considers the role of learners’ participation in raising attainment and achievement in education. Read more.