Rights Respecting Schools Award
There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”
Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
The Rights Respecting Schools Award is an initiative created by UNICEF, the world’s leading organisation working to protect and promote children’s rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special rights convention because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection, that is different from adults.
This led to the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which relates to the treatment of children worldwide, what they need to survive, grow, participate and fulfill their potential. This applies equally to every child, regardless of who they are, or where they are from.
The Convention guides everything UNICEF do, and includes a list of articles that say what countries must do so that children can grow up as healthy as possible, learn at school, receive protection, have their views listened to, and are treated fairly. The Rights Respecting Schools Awards recognises achievement in putting these articles at the heart of a school’s ethos and culture to improve well-being and develop every child’s talents and abilities to their full potential.
Children and young people play an active role in their school becoming rights-respecting, and participation runs through all aspects of school life. For children and young people, knowing that they have the right to be heard in decisions which affect them boosts not only their sense of security but also their self confidence. This opens the way to developing and applying the skills, language and concepts that allow them to realise their rights and to advocate for the rights of children everywhere.
Commitment to the final assessment at Level 2 can take up to four years and at Burdett-Coutts, we have begun our journey towards the the first stage: Recognition of Commitment. Here the headteacher and school leaders commit to becoming a right-respecting school, with the children working with adults to decide how to develop a whole-school rights-respecting approach.
We are very excited to be working towards our accreditation and have already completed the following actions:
- Introduced the rights at assemblies in the Autumn Term (September – October 2015)
- Displayed a copy of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child poster as well as a Class Charter in every class
- Completed a Class Charter learning walk (January 2016)
- Assembled a steering group from each class year to meet each month
- Collected and analysed pupil questionnaires from the steering group
- A representative of the steering group has presented to parents at a coffee morning
- Two prominent boards displaying the children’s rights in the Ground Floor and the First Floor
- Pertinent articles displayed in relevant areas around the school
The steering group will continue to meet every month and we will be planning more opportunities for our pupils to learn about the Convention and its importance to the well-being of children and young people locally and globally.