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Ensuring the rights and voices of children and young people are heard and acted upon must not be allowed to undermine the right of teachers to work in safety or maintain good order in schools, representatives from Scotland have told the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union today.
 
The Conference heard concerns about the potential for the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which is scheduled to be incorporated into domestic law in Scotland, to come into conflict with the work of schools. This includes the ability of teachers to manage pupil behaviour and to take appropriate action where a child presents a genuine risk to the safety of teachers or other pupils.
 
Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
 
“The rights of the teacher must go hand in hand with the rights of children and young people. Every teacher and learner has a right to work and study in a safe and orderly environment.
 
“Securing good behaviour and discipline in schools is also critical to securing children’s right to a high-quality education which enables them to develop their full potential.
 
“The NASUWT will be continuing to support our members in their efforts to secure a safe environment for themselves and their pupils and we urge the Scottish Government to work with us to ensure that all classrooms are safe to teach in.”

Mike Corbett, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
 
“Securing the entitlements set out in the UNCRC creates complex and wide-ranging responsibilities for schools for which they are set to become legally accountable.
 
“If pupils’ educational rights and entitlements under the UNCRC are to be upheld in practice, the ways in which relationships between teachers and pupils are established and sustained are of critical importance.
 
“Meeting the provisions of the UNCRC must, therefore, support the ability of teachers and headteachers to discharge their responsibilities to secure the rights of pupils to a high-quality education.
 
“Implementing the UNCRC must be undertaken carefully and in consultation with teachers in order to ensure there are no unintended consequences which would be detrimental to the interests of both children and teachers.” 
 

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