Rights Respecting School
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.
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.
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 will we start our journey to becoming a Rights Respecting School?
First of all our Senior Management Team have put the Rights Respecting Schools initiative onto our School Development Plan. Our teachers are going to be taught about Rights Respecting Schools and what it will take to become one. We let parents know by sending information home and putting up displays.
This year we will have a new Action Group, consisting of pupils from each class and some staff who will be in charge of running the project and achieving the outcomes of our action plan.
How are things going?
We will be having assemblies that teach about rights and the UNCRC. In classes, children will be 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 Pupil Parliament are carrying on their good work, coming up with even more ideas to make our school a better place.
Our Rights Respecting School Action Group will be busy linking displays around the school to the Children’s Rights Convention and labelling them to raise awareness. They will decide on relevant articles and will create a whole school class charter which will displayed in the school hall. The whole school will be involved in discussions on setting expectations for these rights.
Our house points system will ensure that children are being awarded house points for displaying Rights Respecting Behaviour.
We really want to encourage everyone to use the language of rights and expectations across the whole school. To help with this, we will turn some of the rights on the UNCRC into more child-friendly language and to draw pictures, so that it was easier for younger children to understand.
Where are we now?
We have been awarded the Bronze award and are currently working on our Silver Action Plan. Our Steering Group are busy putting all the actions into place!
Rights Respecting Mascot
We held a Rights Respecting Mascot competition and our whole school voted for their favourite mascot. The winning entry is Riley the Rights Respecting Robin designed by Bonnie. We know that as Riley keeps an eye on the children at St. Elizabeth's, he will be very proud of their Rights Respecting behaviour!