Rights Respecting School
RRS News 2016-17
After achieving our Rights Respecting School Level 1 Award last year, children’s rights and the UN convention for children’s rights remain fundamental to our school ethos.
On the 20th November 1989 governments from all around the world came together to decide on rights for children which helps keep them safe, healthy and protected. This is marked every year on Outright Day.
We celebrated Outright Day at Sound Primary School this year on Tuesday 22 November. We worked with other pupils from our house groups and took part in 3 activities. We learned about the importance of children’s rights across the world. We found out about refugee children and how they are denied their rights because of dangers in their countries.
Sound Primary School: Rights Respecting School Award
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.
What are children’s rights?
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 background.
Articles 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 Management Team put the Rights Respecting Schools initiative onto our School Development Plan. Then our teachers were taught about Rights Respecting Schools 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 a new a Steering Group, consisting of 1 pupil from each class and three staff: Mrs McCulloch, Miss Mann and Miss Saunders. They are in charge of running the project and achieving the outcomes of our action plan.
How are things going?
We are having assemblies which teach about rights and the UNCRC. In classes, children are learning about rights and a lot of classes have linked rights and expectations with their class rules in a class charter. We already have lots of ‘Pupil Voice’ at our school, so our Eco-club, JRSOs and Pupil Councils are carrying on their good work, coming up with even more ideas to make our school a better place.
Our Rights Respecting School Steering Group is busy linking displays around the school to the Children’s Rights Convention and labelling them to raise awareness. They decided on relevant articles and have created a whole school class charter which is displayed in the school foyer. The whole school are involved in discussions on setting expectations for these rights.
Our house points system has been re-launched and house points are being awarded for displaying Rights Respecting Behaviour. This has also been linked to our Golden Time on a Friday afternoon and pupils are reporting that this is successful and is something they enjoy.
Our biggest problem is getting everyone to use the language of rights and expectations across the whole school. To help with this, we got a group of children together to turn some of the rights on the UNCRC into more child-friendly language and to draw pictures, so that it was easier for P1-3 to understand.
Where are we now?
Pupils are talking about rights and expectations in school. Children understand more about showing respect. We also have a higher number of pupils showing appreciation and displaying Rights Respecting behaviour.
Our pupils are aware that some children in the world are being denied their basic rights. This has helped pupils think about the world and appreciate what they have. 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.
We are all continuing to work hard towards achieving our Level 1 Rights Respecting Schools Award.