What is the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)?
The UNCRC has 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights.
Every child has rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status.
The Convention must be seen as a whole: all the rights are linked and no right is more important that another. The right to relax and play (Article 31) and the right to freedom of expression (Article 13) have equal importance as the right to be safe from violence (Article 19) and the right to education (Article 28).
What is the UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award?
The Rights Respecting Schools Award puts children’s rights at the heart of our school. As a Rights Respecting School we actively promote the Convention of the Rights of a Child. The award embeds the values of the Rights of the Child in daily school life.
To achieve the award, the school has to complete three distinct levels:
Bronze Award (Rights Committed)
The Head Teacher and Senior Leaders are committed to becoming a rights-respecting school. A representative steering group of adults and pupils is formed to guide, promote and develop the initiative throughout the school. The steering group develops an action plan for implementing the RRSA standards and identifies procedures for monitoring the impact of the initiative.
Achieved: September 2017
Silver Award (Rights Aware)
A school achieving Silver has made good progress towards embedding the values and principles of the Convention into its ethos and curriculum. Schools must also be able to show how they plan to fully embed these values and principles as they work towards Level 2.
Achieved: July 2018
Gold Award (Rights Respecting)
A school achieving Gold has fully embedded the values and principles of the Convention into its ethos and curriculum. Schools must also be able to show how they will maintain these rights-based values and principles.
Achieved: June 2021
To be accredited as ‘rights-respecting’, a school has to display evidence that it has attained all four of the standards:
- Rights-respecting values underpin leadership and management;
- The whole-school community learns about the Convention;
- There is a rights-respecting ethos;
- Children are empowered to become active citizens and learners.
The school self-evaluates progress against the Bronze, Silver and Gold standards and, when they believe they have met the standards, an external assessment takes place. Following this, a written report is provided and, where the standards have been met, the school is accredited.
For more information on the award please visit www.unicef.org.uk/rrsa
What has Cherry Orchard Primary School done?
Children at Cherry Orchard Primary School learn about their rights in all year groups. This is achieved through regular lessons, assemblies and topic weeks. The relevant articles from the CRC and global goals are always included on the children’s knowledge organisers.
We also learn through the rights. The CRC is considered when decisions are made and school policies are informed by the CRC.
Lastly, we ensure that our pupils are ambassadors for the rights of others. We encourage children to see themselves as change makers, campaigners and rights respecting citizens.
We feel that through embracing the Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) and the RRSA principles, we have developed a strong positive ethos, and give the children further opportunities to develop life skills and view themselves as empowered, valued citizens who are capable of making changes to the world around them.
The RRSA framework shapes the ethos of Cherry Orchard Primary School and unifies pupils, parents and a community. Through our RRSA ethos, pupils develop a stronger sense of the need to act for global justice and have a stronger understanding of their rights.
What are the benefits?
The main areas of impact that staff and pupils of Cherry Orchard Primary School have identified are:
- Improved self-esteem and wellbeing;
- Improved behaviour and relationships (reduction in bullying and exclusions and improved attendance);
- A more positive attitude towards diversity;
- An understanding of social justice;
- A sense of their own ability to make positive changes for themselves and their communities.