What is a Rights Respecting School Award?
UNICEF UK is pioneering an initiative in UK schools called the Rights Respecting School Award. The award scheme started in 2004 and is running in over 4000 primary and secondary schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Rights Respecting Schools Award recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of a school’s planning, policies, practice and ethos.
A Rights Respecting School not only teaches about children’s rights but also models rights and respect in all its relationships: between teachers/adults and pupils, between adults and between pupils. Children’s rights are central to all aspects of UNICEF’s work, including education, and we use the UNCRC as a framework for our activities.
Why Teach about the Convention?
Teaching children and young people about the UNCRC means that they can find out about the legal and human rights and responsibilities that underpin society. By learning about the Convention, children and young people in the UK can discover that:
- They have rights
- They should be informed about their rights
- They should be helped to exercise their rights
- They should be able to enforce their rights
There should be a community of interest to advocate young people’s rights. These tenets of the UNCRC are true for children and young people worldwide, making the Convention an excellent starting point for understanding global citizenship.
In becoming a Rights Respecting School, all pupils across the school learn about their rights as identified in the UNCRC and every class creates a ‘Class Charter’. The class teacher and the children work together to select the rights that they agree are the most important in relation to what is done in that classroom and they display these on a charter. Then they make agreements to respect those rights for themselves and for others, and everyone signs the charter to show their commitment to its shared values.
Meet Rabbie, Our Rights Rabbit
The Rights Respecting Committee organised a school competition for pupils to design a Rights Mascot. After receiving many amazing entries, the winning Mascot was designed by Ollie in Primary 3. His name is Rabbie and he will be seen around the school promoting all the different rights.