Charters for children: Rights, responsibilities and education

Wightman, Vivien Stewart (2002) Charters for children: Rights, responsibilities and education. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with children's rights and responsibilities at school. An important part of this thesis is concerned with a survey of what children think their rights ought to be at school. The survey was conducted in two Scottish regions - one where a Charter had been developed and one where there was no Charter. The relevance of rights language in relation to children's rights is explored in Chapter 1. In Chapter 2, changing perceptions of childhood are examined to highlight the importance of historical change in relation to the way that children are treated. Chapter 3 reviews the main arguments of the apologists of the protectionist and the liberationist approaches to children's rights and assesses attempts to develop a moderate perspective on children's rights, in Chapter 4, we consider the significance of the developing child in relation to children's rights; further exploring the initial discussion of competence in Chapter 1. In particular, there is an examination of the impact of child development theory upon notions of incompetence in children. Having considered one of the most powerful limiting factors facing increased rights for children, in Chapter 5 we examine ways of counteracting these forces by formalizing children's rights through formal declarations. The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which influenced the development of the Lothian Children's Family Charter, is the main focus of this chapter. The Convention and the Charter are both broadly concerned with children's rights in relation to participation, protection and provision, together with children's responsibilities and the pivotal role of the family. However, in contrast with the Convention, which provides minimum standards for the treatment of children on an international scale, the Charter focuses on the recognition of rights at a regional level. In relation to education, for example, the Convention focuses on the right to an education and the general aims of education, whereas the Charter is concerned with how children should be treated at school within the context of the school's being a place of compulsory attendance. Through a close examination of the relevant articles of the Convention we are able to assess, within an international context, the expectations for children's rights in relation to education when they are embodied in a universal declaration. In this chapter, we also examine the extent to which the entitlements of the Charter are in harmony with the articles of the Convention. In Chapter 6, we examine recent education policy in relation to children's rights and we explore the relevance of the compulsory element of schooling within this context. Following this. Chapter 7 is concerned with young people's experiences at school and examines the evidence which focuses on children's rights within this context. The background to the survey, i.e. the theoretical framework and the methods adopted for the survey are discussed in Chapter 8. The methods used to conduct the survey were both quantitative and qualitative; employing questionnaire and interview techniques. Chapter 9 is devoted to the survey of young people's understanding of children's rights and responsibilities at school. The aim of the survey was to examine the views of young people regarding what children's rights ought to be at school and to consider the relevance of the Charter, as a local policy document which embodies children's rights, by assessing whether or not the Charter's principles are compatible with these views. A comparison was made between children's views in Lothian Region, where a Charter had been instituted and children's views in Strathclyde Region, where no Charter was present. The Lothian Children's Family Charter (on which the survey was based) is formulated on the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Following the survey, in the final chapter (Chapter 10) an attempt is made to reach a conclusion about children's expectations regarding rights at school and the compatibility of these expectations with the principles of the Lothian Children's Family Charter.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Advisers: Andrew Lockyer; Gillian Mayes
Keywords: Education policy
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-72375
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:12
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72375

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