Human rights education, trainings and awareness raising – Government action
UK Government actions
- In October 2020, the UK Government updated the ‘headteachers’ standards’, which set baseline expectations for professional practice and conduct, to include showing ‘tolerance of and respect for the rights of others, recognising differences and respecting cultural diversity within contemporary Britain’.
- In September 2020, regulations came into force making relationships education compulsory for primary pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for secondary pupils and health education compulsory in all schools, except independents. Statutory guidance sets out that this should include the importance of respecting others, stereotypes and the legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality. A whole-school approach is encouraged, with school policies and culture complementing the curriculum, and support and training materials for schools have been developed.
- In July 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the UK Government published guidance giving schools in England some flexibility for a phased start if they were not prepared to fully implement changes to relationships and sex education (RSE) and relationships education (RelEd) from 1 September 2020. All schools were expected to be compliant by summer term 2021.
- In March 2021, the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities recommended that the Department for Education should work with a panel of independent experts to produce high-quality teaching resources to tell the multiple, nuanced stories of the contributions made by different groups to the UK.
- In November 2018, the UK Government launched a voluntary training package on children’s rights for civeil servants.
Welsh Government actions
Although education policy is devolved to the Welsh Government, other elements of human rights awareness raising are reserved to the UK Government, such as training of officials in professions such as the judiciary.
- In March 2021, the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act was passed in the Welsh Parliament, including provisions making relationships and sexuality education (RSE) mandatory for all learners. It also creates a duty on headteachers, school governors and those in charge of other relevant education provision to promote knowledge and understanding of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) among teachers and staff.
- In March 2021, the Welsh Government accepted in full the recommendations of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group. The recommendations are intended to ensure that all learners understand the diverse experiences and contributions of ethnic minority people in Wales.
- In September 2020, the Welsh Government accepted a recommendation from the Welsh Parliament’s Children, Young People and Education Committee that human rights education should be taught under the new curriculum for Wales. In its response, the Welsh Government said that developing an awareness of human rights would be a mandatory part of the new curriculum.
- In December 2020, the Welsh Government launched a consultation on a revised children’s rights scheme, as part of its obligations under the Children and Young People (Wales) Measure 2011, which included proposed actions to raise awareness of the UNCRC.
- In 2019–2020, the Welsh Government held a campaign to raise awareness of the UNCRC, which included a conference to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC and the development of awareness-raising resources.