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UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights. In 1989, governments worldwide promised all children the same rights by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
As a school, we have achieved the Bronze Award for our rights-respecting work, which is the first step along the process.
What is a Rights Respecting School?
In Rights Respecting Schools children’s rights are promoted and realised, adults and children work towards this goal together. Together young people and the school community learn about children’s rights, putting them into practice every day. The Award is not just about what children do but also, importantly, what adults do.
These rights are based on what a child needs to survive, grow, participate and fulfil their potential. The ‘Rights Respecting School’ award (RRSA) will help our pupils to grow into confident, caring and responsible young citizens both in school and within the wider community. By learning about their rights our pupils, your children, also learn about the importance of respecting the rights of others i.e. their responsibilities.
There are 54 articles all together. However, articles 43-54 are about how adults and governments work together to make sure that children get all their rights. For this reason at Bowlee Park we promote the first 42 rights.
There are four key areas of impact for children at a Rights Respecting school; wellbeing, participation, relationships and self-esteem. The difference that a Rights Respecting School makes goes beyond the school gates, making a positive impact on the whole community.
Children are healthier and happier
By promoting the values of respect, dignity and non-discrimination, children’s self-esteem and wellbeing is boosted and they are less likely to suffer from stress. A child who understands their rights understands how they and others should be treated and their sense of self-worth is strengthened.
Children feel safe
The Rights Respecting Schools Award gives children a powerful language to use to express themselves and to challenge the way they are treated. They are also able to challenge injustices for other children. Children and young people are empowered to access information that enables them to make informed decisions about their learning, health and wellbeing.
Children have better relationships
Both with their teachers and their peers, based on mutual respect and the value of everyone’s opinion. In a Rights Respecting school children are treated as equals by their fellow pupils and by the adults in the school. Children and young people are involved in how the Award is implement in the school but are also involved in strategic decision-making; in decisions about their learning; and in views about their well-being.
Children become active and involved in school life and the wider world
This builds their confidence to make informed decisions. They have a moral framework, based on equality and respect for all that lasts a lifetime, as they grow into engaged, responsible members of society. Children and adults develop an ethos and language of rights and respect around the school. Rights and principles of the Convention are used to put moral situations into perspective and consider rights-respecting solutions – this all has a huge impact on relationships and well-being. Children and young people get very involved in raising awareness about social justice issues, both at home and abroad. They become ambassadors for rights and take part in campaigns and activities to help to bring about change.