What happens at a Children’s Hearing?

Sometimes if you’re struggling to go or stay in school, are having a difficult time at home or people are worried about your wellbeing or safety, you might be asked to go to a Children’s Hearing. This is a legal meeting that children and young people can be asked to go to with their families or carers to help them with their problems. If you’ve never been to one it’s normal to be a bit worried about attending and talking to people you don’t know.

The people who run Children’s Hearings want to make them as easy for children and young people as possible. With the help of some young people they have produced a video to explain what will happen before and at a hearing.  Have a look by clicking on the picture below:

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.43.20

There’s also lots of useful information for children and  young people on the Children’s Hearing Scotland websit

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Get Live! Getting together to get it right

Get LIVE Stamp

Who are the best people to make things easy to understand and interesting to other children and young people. We think the answer is easy! Children and young people themselves!

So we are VERY excited to be part of Get Live: Getting together to get it right, an event all about finding the best ways to share important information about health and wellbeing with children and young people. Anybody who’d like to share their ideas is welcome and there will be lots of support available on the day. It’s important children with additional support needs get involved so their views are heard too!

So if you are aged between 8 and 11 and you like sharing your ideas, having fun, and learning stuff, click on the flyer to find out more and then talk to a teacher, youth worker or parent about coming along. They can then contact Cat Thomson at Children in Scotland on 0131 313 8803 or cthomson@childreninscotland.org.uk to find out all the details.Girfec flyer

If this sounds right up your street but you’re older (aged between 12 and 18) get in touch with Young Scot on codesign@youngscot.org who are organising the event for young people.


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Hurray! Our conference film is ready

We were really lucky at our annual conference this year to have a group of Park Mains High School pupils helping us capture the buzz, the chat and the inspiring presentations on film.

Working with Media Education, Robyn, Myren, Kaleigh, Ross, Rhys, and Robyn J, spent the conference filming, interviewing speakers and delegates and generally working their socks off to capture the best bits of the day.

Here’s the final film. We hope you like it –  we think it’s brilliant!



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Do you know your rights? New leaflet on children and young people’s rights

SCCYP leafletThe Scottish Commissioner for Children and People have produced an updated leaflet all about young people’s rights.

Definitely worth checking out!



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Getting it Right for EVERY Child

Enquire recently met 17 year old Dionne McFarlane, a young person from Edinburgh on a mission! Dionne very kindly agreed to write a blog post telling us about some of the work she has been doing around Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)


Dionne meets Aileen Campbell MSP

“My name is Dionne McFarlane and I’m the GIRFEC Ambassador for Edinburgh. I was given this role back in 2014 and I have to say I’m enjoying every minute of it and loving the opportunities I’ve been given.”

So what is GIRFEC?

“GIRFEC stands for Getting It Right For Every Child and is an approach that ensures that help and support is available to a child or young person and their family if any difficulties were to arise. The approach aims to make sure that anyone providing support puts the child or young person and their families at the centre. It’s important that children and young people are at the heart of decision making. GIRFEC also looks at the child or young person’s wellbeing by considering eight indicators  – Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurtured, Achieving, Respected, Responsible, Included (this is often remembered as SHANARRI). We must remember that these words can mean different things to each child and young person and their wellbeing. These indicators can give adults that support children and young people an indication into what’s going well for that young person but also where there might be concerns and help them get a child or young person back on track. I feel it’s important that children and young people are aware of GIRFEC because it’s an approach that’s there to help and support them and I feel that it’s important that they have a say in their life and I believe that having a choice is crucial.”

 How I became a GIRFEC Young Ambassador


Dionne meets staff from Dundee’s Integrated Children’s Services

“I got involved with the work of GIRFEC after I was one of the winners from Edinburgh in the Scottish Government Wellbeing Competition. I decided to carry on with the work because I wanted to be able to let other children and young people know that “asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of and that its ok to ask for support whenever you require it.” By using my own personal experiences I hope to be able to reach out to other children and young people. My aims over the next few years is to ensure that my opinions and the opinions of other young people are heard by professionals who are working in children’s services and other organisations.

Through the work I’ve been doing and also through my own personal experience I’ve seen just how dedicated and committed adults are in supporting children and young people through difficulties. Some adults go above and beyond in helping young people and I can honestly say that I have a lot of respect for adults who are like that. Through GIRFEC I’ve learned that you have choice on who you can talk to about any problems or difficulties you are experiencing for example if a guidance teacher isn’t available you can talk to your deputy head or another adult. Whoever you talk to they will be able to provide help and support.”

What advice would I give other young people?

“If I had to give a child or young person with additional support needs a piece of advice that would be to not be afraid to speak out about difficulties and if you have one adult you feel you can talk to approach them and talk to them. I understand that for some young people asking for help can be daunting I once asked for help and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I know that my struggles don’t define me as a person. My struggles made me a much stronger and overall better person.”


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Do you think children should have more rights? Find out more….

book_girl_kirstypurpleWhat’s great about living in Scotland is that if you need extra help in school, for any reason, there is a law to make sure that you get the support you need – it’s called the Additional Support for Learning Act (it’s usually just called the ASL Act).

The ASL Act gives your parents or carers rights to ask your school or local authority to look at what your needs are and provide support that helps you get the most from school.  It also makes sure that people listen to what you and your parents think.   If you’re over 16 you have the same rights as your parents or carers under the ASL Act (as long as you are able to give your views, take part in decisions and understand what they might mean to you in school).

12At the moment the Scottish Government is thinking about giving the same rights from the ASL Act to children over 12. This would be things like asking for an assessment of your needs and making an appeal to the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland. The Scottish Government is also looking at what type of advice and information children might need to make the most of these rights.  Their idea is to have a Children’s Support Service which would help you understand your rights and share your views.

So what happens next???


The Scottish Government has listened to lots of children, parents, carers and professionals about what they think and over the next few months will be listening to more experts about whether it’s a good idea. Once this has happened they will make a decision and will create a new law which means that schools and local authorities will have to make sure children know their rights, what they mean and how to use them.

We’ll keep  you posted about what’s happening but if you want to know more get in touch with Enquire’s helpline on info@enquire.org.uk or phone 0845 123 2303. If you want to find out more about what your rights are at the moment have a look at some of our young people’s guides.


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My Child’s Plan: My View

HCFbannerpic5What do children and young people think about the support they get and how useful their Child’s Plan is? The Highland Children’s Forum were asked by Highland Council to find out.

After spending five months last year talking and listening to children, they have published a report with their findings. What’s really clear is how much the children and young people value the support they get and how important it is to them. Here’s a few quotes…..

I’m really close to my Children’s Services Worker. She gives me honest feedback so I trust her and know she’s not lying. I have troubles with my friends and she is really supportive; she’s given me leaflets and a CD in the past to help me deal with stress.’ (Eva age 16)

‘I get help from a lady at the Birnie Centre. I enjoy seeing her; she helps me out when I get annoyed; she uses charts with different faces to look at how I’m feeling. I see her every week or 2.’ (Charlie age 9)

‘Having a Plan has meant I’ve had help with bullying, stress at home and transition from high school. Staff listen to me and have helped me get along well in my subjects.’ (Struan age 16)

It’s also clear how important it is for children and young people to have someone they trust to talk to. Here’s what Beth had to say:

People need to know how to help you when you’re feeling upset or bad. They’ve got to be happy even if you’re talking to them about sad news. They need to keep positive and be good listeners.’ (Beth age 11)

What’s useful about the report is it also explains what is not working so well. Young people raised some really important points and suggestions for fixing them:

‘I would just like people to explain things to me, like why is the Children’s Services Worker not working with me anymore? Also why has the Speech and Language lady stopped coming?’ (Anna age 12)

I don’t feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues in front of my parents at meetings.’ (Freya age 16)

‘It would be good to know who’s coming to the meetings beforehand. The school nurse once brought along a student and that made me feel really uncomfortable. I should have been told they were coming and asked if I minded.’ (Freya age 16)

It’s a great piece of work and well done to all the children and young people who took part. To read the full report visit the Highland Children’s Forum website.

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Helping Hands at Enquire Conference

ParkmainsEvery year Enquire runs a national conference. This year it took place in Park Mains High School in Renfrewshire and was all about what helps pupils with additional support needs feel inspired in school and overcome barriers to learning.

Enquire thinks it’s really important to hear from children and young people themselves, so we asked pupils from Mary Russell School to come along and share their views. Six brave 5th and 6th year pupils agreed to take part!

To prepare for their presentation, we asked Alisha, Jessica, Nathan, Gareth, Colin and Martin to think about the type of help that makes a difference to them in school. Teacherssupport assistants and friends came out top but the pupils also thought that the dinner lady, school nurse and the janitor helped too.  They thought that having space to work, having people listen to them, the right technology, extra time to finish work and transport to school was important too.

We then asked pupils to think about something they have achieved that they are really proud of and if they got any help that made a difference. Here’s what some of the pupils said:

“My pupils support assistant helps me feel more confident to speak out in class.”

“More time to finish my work helps me do it properly.”

“Traveling independently helps me feel more mature and responsible.”

“Support staff help me feel confident when I swim.”

“Speaking in class helps me feel confident.”

IMG_5834They wrote their thoughts on big cardboard hands and stood up in front of over 120 delegates to share their views.  Although they were all quite nervous, they did a great job! Later in the day they also helped to run a workshop. They were enjoying themselves so much they didn’t want to go back to school!


IMG_5833Here’s what some of the delegates had to say about the young people’s involvement:

“An excellent and very thought provoking day! The young people’s contributions were very poignant. What an inspiration.”

“Overall a really worthwhile day – especially loved hearing from the pupils.”

Well done and thank you to all the pupils who took part.

Thanks also to Mr Coyle who helped pupils prepare for the day.


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What matters to YOU in your education?

logoOn the 23rd March, a very exciting event is happening in Inverness – a Children and Young People’s Regional Summit is taking place. So if you are between 8 and 11 years old and want to have a say about what matters to you in your education, why not suggest to your teacher or support worker that you go along.  The Scottish Government want to hear from pupil from lots of backgrounds, as well as from children who get extra support in school.

What’s really exciting is that the event is taking place on the same day as Scottish Ministers are holding a meeting in Inverness so young people who attend will have the chance to share their views with Ministers, including Angela Constance, who is responsible for Education and Lifelong Learning.

To find out more about the day and watch a video about all the work that’s being going on to get ready for the summit click here.

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Exciting news from Haggeye!

haggeye-Junior-logo-webIf you’re a young person  (aged 5 to 12) with a visual impairment and you want to have fun and meet other young people who know what it is like to be visually impaired,  why not sign up to a fab new project called Haggeye Jnrs.

The launch of the project is taking place on 20th June at M and D’s Theme Park and you’ll get the chance to meet lots of other young people, get a great goodie bag and hear about all the fun events and activities you can take part in.

To find out more about Haggeye Jnrs and sign up to the launch get in touch with RNIB  education and families services on efs@rnib.org.uk

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