The Convention on the Rights of the Child (known as the CRC or UNCRC) is a human rights treaty which sets out the rights of all children. A person is considered a child if they are under the age of 18. It is the most widely signed human rights treaty by leaders across the world. The convention is made up of individual articles which set out the rights of the child, covering political, social, economic and health rights. https://www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/un-convention-child-rights/
What is a Rights Respecting School?
UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools Award recognises a school’s achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into practice within the school and beyond. At St. Andrew’s, not only do we learn about the rights that all children have, we aim to understand the concept of rights through a rights-based approach to school life, which has a positive impact on the children’s learning and wellbeing. We encourage children to see themselves as rights respecting global citizens and to become advocates for social justice, fairness and children’s rights at home and abroad.
Children learn that the rights set out in the charter are for ALL children, from BIRTH, they CANNOT be taken away, DO NOT need to be earned and are all EQUALLY important (ABCDE of rights). We also explore the 4 general principles of the convention:
i. non-discrimination (article 2)
ii. best interests of the child (article 3)
iii. life, survival and development (article 6)
iv. participation (article 12)
We are now a Silver: Rights Aware Rights Respecting School and have begun our journey towards achieving Gold: Rights Respecting.
The report from our accreditation visit for the Silver: Rights Aware award included the following observations:
There is a strategic commitment by the school to the principles of the Convention. The headteacher explained that “everything we do across the school links to being a rights respecting school” and that this complements the school’s values and “dovetails into everything”.
Respect is an integral part of the school’s culture and everyday practice. A rights respecting ethos is also being promoted through the school’s Christian values and expectations of being ‘ready, respectful, safe’. Throughout the accreditation visit, a positive and supportive learning environment was evident and in discussions pupils listened carefully and respectfully to the contribution of their peers.
Pupils understand that adults are responsible for ensuring that their rights are being facilitated and upheld.
Pupils are confident that if they had any concerns these would be listened to and taken seriously by staff.
When asked, pupils confirmed that they felt safe at school. Learning about e-safety, visits from external organisations, access to ‘worry boxes’ in classes, ‘anti-bullying week’, and year 6 participating in a ‘junior citizen’ event are other examples of how the school supports pupils’ safety.
‘Pupil voice’ is a strength of the school. Two pupil representatives from reception year and above are elected by their peers to form the school council. The council has helped to choose playground equipment, decided on charities to support, carried out learning walks, and with other pupils helps to produce the pupil newsletter.
Children’s awareness of the wider world is being developed in a variety of ways including through assemblies and curriculum activities.