Children and Young People’s Voices Matter!
Human rights, relationships, equality, period poverty and Brexit were issues that were raised at the last children and young people’s Cabinet meeting in 2018 as the most important for their generation.
I met with 14 inspirational individuals – seven Members of the Children’s Parliament (MCPs) and seven Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) – at last March’s second Cabinet meeting with children and young people.
They talked to the Cabinet about key issues that impact on their lives at home, at school and in the community and shared their views with Cabinet Ministers, in the hope of informing the government’s agenda over the coming year.
The result of that meeting is “Children and Young People’s Voices Matter!” – our progress report on the actions agreed, and there has been some fantastic progress on many of the actions over the past year.
Highlights include the Year of Young People (YOYP) 2018, our recently published Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland Report and Action Plan and FMQT: Next Generation – the first ever First Minister’s Question Time for children and young people.
The Cabinet agreed that it is not acceptable that people in Scotland are experiencing period poverty, and since the last meeting the Scottish Government has met its commitment to provide free sanitary products for those attending school, college and university, investing over £5 million the current financial year.
We’ve also worked to improve the recording and monitoring process for incidents of bullying in schools after it was raised as a key issue. A new National Approach for recording and monitoring incidents of bullying is currently being rolled out to all schools across Scotland. This will enable schools and local authorities to identify and address all types of bullying behaviour occurring within a school, and implement appropriate preventative measures to support all children and young people.
We want to build on last year’s incredible YoYP, strengthening the voices of children and young people in all of the decisions that we make and we will be holding our third annual meeting of Cabinet Ministers and children and young people in a few weeks’ time on 5 March. This meeting has become a highlight of the Cabinet calendar and we are all looking forward to it with real enthusiasm.