The Scottish Government has a strong commitment to strengthening children’s human rights, with the aim of making Scotland ‘the best place to grow up and bring up children’. The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced a raft of measures to boost the rights of children with additional support needs (ASN). The programme for government in Scotland, published in September 2020, included a commitment to incorporate the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child into Scottish domestic legislation. In order to examine the extent to which the rights of Gypsy/Traveller children are being respected in practice, this paper draws on an analysis of official statistics conducted as part of an ESRC funded project entitled Autonomy, Rights and Children with Special Needs: A New Paradigm? (ES/P002641/1), which ran from 2018 – 2020. In addition, the paper uses findings from an Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment which was carried out in summer 2020 with a view to investigating the impact of the emergency measures implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the terms of the Coronavirus Act 2020, schools across the UK were closed, with widespread implications for children and young people, particularly those with additional support needs. The central aim of this paper is to explore the impact of the emergency measures on the recently enhanced rights of children with ASN, with a particular focus on the rights of children from Gypsy/Traveller backgrounds. I conclude that people living itinerant lives experience long-standing exclusion from mainstream schooling and wider society, and their marginal status has been reinforced during the recent pandemic when children’s human rights have been side-lined.
- additional support needs
- children's human rights