How young people’s participation in school supports achievement and attainment

Funded by Scotlands Commissioner For Children & Young People.

This research was commissioned by Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People. A number of secondary schools with catchments in more deprived areas of Scotland were identified as having higher than expected exam results. Seven of these schools were invited to take part. The goal of this research was to find out if schools serving deprived areas were addressing pupils’ participation and rights in ways that were distinctively supportive of pupil achievement and attainment. How would pupils themselves describe the links between different kinds of participation and ‘doing well’? What we Found In the seven schools visited, pupils said that opportunities to participate in all areas of school life were highly valued. From young people’s perspectives, a rights-based education was integral to their achievement and attainment. It was noticeable that in these seven schools, across all arenas of school life, pupils had substantial opportunities to formally and informally take part in a variety of meaningful activities, to take responsibility for events, make contributions to school life, and have their views considered in matters that affected them. Our findings suggest that from young people’s perspectives, rights-based experiences and a good education cannot be easily separated; they were intimately connected in the lives of the young people. We conclude, therefore, that it is less useful to see a rights-based education as an add-on to mainstream education; it is better understood as a way of working across all school life. While some schools integrated these more naturally than others, we found no ‘counter cases’ for this finding in our study.

Total award value £21,968.00

People (2)


Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor, Education

Dr John I'Anson

Dr John I'Anson

Senior Lecturer, Education

Outputs (6)


Book Chapter

Mannion G & I'Anson J (2002) Beyond the Disneyesque: does children’s participation alter the state of adults’ learning?. In: Murphy M, Edwards R, Gray P, Morgan-Klein B & Tett L (eds.) Cultures, Communities and Citizens: the Altered States of Adult Education: Papers from the 32nd Annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults. Stirling: University of Stirling.