On 20th November in 1954 United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established, and has been celebrated on the 20th November ever since. As well as promoting unity and awareness among children the world over, and children’s welfare, the date also marks the day that the UN adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

What are the Rights of a Child?

Many of the rights that children have in Britain, and much of the Western world, are rights we have held for many years but these were not always part of our society.

The Rights of the Child adopted by the UN restrict children from being exploited in any way, be this in work or personally. Children have a right to be protected from harm, and to access adequate healthcare and education.

Child rights in Britain

As you may remember from history lessons, children were often employed in factories and on farms in the 19th century. As children were small, the rise of factories saw them crawling among machinery, with many being harmed in the process – for example, in 1821 49% of the workforce was under 20 years old. Throughout the 19th century child welfare became an increasing area of concern, with multiple acts being passed to limit the hours that children could work, and introducing minimum hours that they must spend accessing education. By 1870 the Education Act was passed, and more children accessing education and fewer working than in the preceding years.

So are children fine now?

Unfortunately, despite the UN adoption of Rights of the Child, not all children are safe from harm. In Britain, we still fight for the rights of children, and act to keep them safe. We have many laws prohibiting poor treatment of children, and political parties and charities work toward ending child poverty. As well as this, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) was founded in 1884. The NSPCC is still going today, and works to protect children. Although some children still experience poor treatment, our society actively works to prevent this.

In other countries, children are still suffering, and are not as well protected. In some countries child labour is still the norm. Some statistics estimate that in 2017, there are still 151 million children aged 5-17 in child labour.

In many countries around the world, child marriage is legal, with no (or low) minimum ages for legal marriage. People often assume this only happens in developing countries, but even in the United States child marriage is legal in many states (with parental permission), with several states having no minimum age for marriage.

What can we do?

As well as continuing to support children in Britain, we can support causes that protect children around the world. This year, the UN is running #KidsTakeOver, where UNICEF has invited children from around the world to engage with different areas of society – politics, entertainment, sport, business etc. Look out for their stories and experiences, and spread the word to help their voices be heard. Every child deserves to be protected and cared for – by working together, we can help achieve this for all children. Look out for kids taking over near you, and listen to what they have to say.

What is Get My Grades doing?

Get My Grades believes that all children should have access to an education that helps them to achieve their potential. We know that education is different for everyone – we learn in different ways and at different speeds, and that’s ok. Our software is designed to give students control over their learning, allowing them to learn at their own pace and keep track of what they’ve covered and how well they’ve done. This gives students more responsibility for their own education, with the tools to help them excel. We realise that sometimes families can face difficult circumstances, whether they be brief or for longer periods of time – and our Free School Meals Promise exists to make sure that all children can access the same quality education as their peers. Get My Grades is playing its part to improve education for all children to give the next generation the best chance in life.

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