children and teacher at nursery

The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024 – What does it mean for nurseries? 

On 7 December 2023, the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill for the second time.

The Bill received Royal Assent on 16 January 2024 and is now the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act. Most of the Act’s provisions will come into force in July.  

The Act is a landmark piece of legislation that incorporates the UNCRC into Scots law, empowers our children and young people to claim their rights and will help to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up. The Scottish Government will be the first devolved government in the world to directly incorporate UNCRC. 

As a sector, Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) already take a child’s rights-based approach to working with children, however as time goes on the landscape of children’s rights will adapt and the legislation will move the conversation further. Now is the time to enhance your rights-based practice. 

Babies do not know that they have rights, they have no conception of the UNCRC. However, they do live their lives in societies, institutions and families that are guided by human rights therefore from a very early age they are, to a degree, aware of actions following rights-based thinking and practice.  

NDNA Scotland has developed resources for members to support the understanding and development of practice around ensuring that even the youngest children in nursery can understand that they have rights that they should be respected and realised.  

How will this Act impact upon your practice? 

If you are already underpinning your practice with the GIRFEC approach then you are already taking a rights-based approach to your practice. The details of the Act have yet to be formalised however practitioners in ELC settings should continue to: 

  • To consider each child as an individual with their own needs, risks and rights 
  • To engage and involve the child as far as practical in discussions and decisions which affect his or her future 
  • To seek out and consider the voice of the child 
  • To plan and review activity to improve outcomes, based on well-being. 

Local Authorities will be required to evidence that the money they spend on ELC allocated by Scottish Government is taking account of the rights of the children of Scotland. This will be done by a Children’s Rights Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA).  

You are not required to carry out CRWIA’s however it will be good practice if you are starting up a new project to show that you are fully considering the rights of the child. For example if you are building a new area in your garden you could carry out a CRWIA to show how you have considered the rights of the children in your setting.  

Not sure what a CRWIA is? NDNA Scotland have got you covered! Our next blog will explore what a CRWIA is in more detail. You can also check out our Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment Step-by-Step guide.   

Our resources are free to members. If you aren’t a member and want to take advantage of our resources to help you prepare for the Act then check out our membership offers

Similar Articles

What are Children’s Rights Wellbeing Impact Assessments? 

In our last blog we told you about the Children’s Rights Wellbeing Impact Assessment. You…
Read more
child choosing toy from shelf

Financial planning in nurseries – how to get started

See our top tips for nursery financial planning and management, ideal if you want to…
Read more
nursery financial management