Our coronavirus work

Our office is working to promote and protect the rights of children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Human rights don’t go away in a crisis, but realising them faces new challenges. Rights like the right to food, education and the best health possible still need to be fulfilled, but Scotland needs to take action so this happens for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in society.


During the second lockdown we supported young consultants working with A Place in Childhood (APiC) on the #ScotYouthandCOVID2 project, which:

  • gathered the views and experiences of 25 young people from across Scotland, and
  • allowed the young people to generate a list of Asks for the Scottish Government on what needs to change around Covid.

Exams and assessments during 2020/2021


Since the cancellation of 2021’s exams was announced, our office has raised concerns around the appeals process.

When the SQA consulted around the 2021 appeals process, we raised concerns that their consultation wasn’t accessible to young people and didn’t encourage them to participate. Our own response to the consultation raised  human rights concerns with the process.

In April we highlighted that the SQA’s Alternative Certification Model needed to take exceptional circumstances into account, just as they are in years where there isn’t a global pandemic. We also published an FAQ about how to ask for extra support at school.

And currently we’re continuing to highlight the need for these critical changes, sharing the concerns of young people and pointing to where Scottish Government can step in if needed.

The decision to cancel all 2020’s exams due to the coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on young people’s rights in Scotland.

Since the decision was made in March, our office has raised concerns about how both it and decisions around alternative arrangements have been made.

We raised further concerns following results day, when grades were calculated through use of an unfair statistical model, and have more concerns around assessment plans for 2021.

Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment

We worked with the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland to conduct an Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment on how emergency laws and policies around coronavirus have affected children and young people in Scotland.

It’s the largest assessment of its kind to be done anywhere in the world around coronavirus laws and policies.

Our policy work on coronavirus

Emergency legislation passed by the Scottish and UK Governments has a significant effect on human rights protections for Scotland’s children and young people, and we are concerned it disproportionately affects the most vulnerable. Our MSP briefings outline our concerns around legislation as it was presented to the Scottish Parliament.

Our policy work on emergency legislation

Our policy work on reopening schools

Other policy work around coronavirus

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