ST LAWRENCE C.E. PRIMARY SCHOOL: RIGHTS RESPECTING SCHOOL AWARD
In September 2017, we achieved our Rights Respecting School Level 2 Award demonstrating that children's rights and the UN Convention on children's rights remain fundamental to our school ethos.
What is the Rights Respecting Schools initiative?
UNICEF UK's Rights Respecting Schools initiative helps a school community to use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to help develop a clear set of values that are actively upheld by pupils.
All human beings - adults and children alike - are entitled to basic human rights. Children have a particular set of rights due to their vulnerability and need for protection. The UNCRC sets out the rights that must be realised for children to develop to their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse. These rights are not something that children need to earn or that adults and governments can take away as a punishment. They contain the basic protection and support that all children are entitled to. All children have the same rights, no matter what their background or where they live.
What does the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child say?
There are 42 articles in the Convention, but they can be summed up as follows:
The right to a childhood
Every child has the right to a safe childhood, protected from violence, abuse and exploitation. Every child has the right to grow up in a family environment, free from adult responsibilities and with the right to play.
The right to an education
Every child has the right to an education that develops their personality, talents and abilities to the full.
The right to be healthy
Every child has the right to health care, clean water, nutritious food and a safe environment so they can be as healthy as possible.
The right to be treated fairly
All children have the same rights whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, abilities, whatever they think or say and whatever their family.
Article 29 is particularly important for schools:
Article 29: Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
How did we start our journey?
First of all our Senior Leadership Team put the Rights Respecting Schools initiative onto our School Development Plan. Then our teachers were taught about how to become a Rights Respecting School and talked about what we would have to do to become one. We let parents know by sending information home and putting up displays.
This year we have elected new Ambassadors from across the school.
How are things going?
We have assemblies that make us think about rights and the UNCRC. In classes children learn about rights through our topic work and by responding to local, national and international issues. Every class has their own Class Charter which will have been created jointly at the beginning of the academic year. We already have lots of ‘Pupil Voice’ at our school, through our Whole School Learning Council, Fair Trade ambassadors JRSOs and Collective Worship Crusaders.
Our Rights Respecting School Steering Group is always busy linking displays around the school to the Children’s Rights Convention and labelling them to raise awareness. We aim to keep the vocabulary associated with the CRC at the front of any discussions or decisions we make in school. The group plan activities that help our children see themselves as global citizens.
Our house points system enables children to win points for showing rights respecting behaviour.
Where are we now?
Pupils are talking about rights and how this influences behaviour expectations in school. Children understand more about showing respect. We have a high proportion of children who demonstrate an embedded understanding of Rights Respecting behaviour.
Our pupils are aware that some children in the world are being denied their basic rights. Some of these children could possibly live near us. This has helped pupils think about the world and appreciate their role as global citizens. They are aware of the work of various children’s charities that are helping these children and are keen to get involved in fundraising activities for these charities.
They are also aware of the difference between wants and needs and appreciate that with rights come expectations.