UNICEF RRSA

Being a Rights Respecting School

Why are children learning about their rights in school and what are ‘rights’?

In signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) all Governments have a responsibility to make both children and adults aware of these rights. Schools are the best place to reach the majority of children.

Rights are not the same as ‘wants’. Rights are the basic human needs and values that apply or should apply to everyone, for example:

  • The right to clean water
  • The right to an education
  • The right to nutritious food
  • The right to be heard
  • The right to express an opinion
  • The right to shelter

The UNICEF website outlines the articles in more detail and can be found at:

www.rrsa.unicef.org.uk

How do these rights fit into teaching the curriculum?

The teaching of links in to many subject areas, including:
English, History, Geography, R.E, Science and PSHE. All our teaching and support staff have received training on how to incorporate rights based lessons into their planning.

Does the UNCRC talk about responsibilities?

The children are taught that they have the responsibility to respect the rights of others. These matching rights and responsibility statements are created by the children in their PSHE lessons and then displayed in each class as their Class Charter. Children are taught that their rights are UNCONDITIONAL meaning they are not a reward and not dependant on them performing an action to get them.

What about children’s respect for the rights of others?

UNICEF has shown that when children are taught about their rights under the CRC, they are more respectful of the rights of others.

Children who have learnt about their rights show:

  • A better understanding of what it means to have rights
  • Improved behaviour and attendance
  • Better relationships with their class

There is also a Whole School Charter in place which was written in collaboration with our Rights Ambassadors. It includes the following Rights and Responsibilities:

  • Article 12 – Every child has the right be heard and have their views taken seriously.
  • Article 19 – Every child has the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment.
  • Article 23 – Every child with a disability has the right to live a full and decent life with dignity and independence.
  • Article 24 – Every child has the right to health care, nutritious food, clean water and a clean environment.
  • Article 31 – Every child has the right to play.

As we are a school we will uphold Articles 28 & 29; Giving children the right to an education and developing every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.

What key vocabulary helps children understand about rights and what it means to be rights-respecting?

Children are taught 5 key words that will help them develop a sound understanding of rights and what it means to be rights-respecting. These are the 2 U’s and the 3 I’s:

  • Inherent – Rights are inherent meaning they are yours because you are born a human.
  • Indivisible – Rights are indivisible meaning no right is more important than another one. They are equal and linked.
  • Inalienable – Rights are inalienable meaning you cannot give them away or sell them and no one can take them away from you.
  • Universal – Rights are universal meaning they are for all children (under 18), everywhere, all the time.
  • Unconditional – Rights are unconditional meaning they are not a reward and not dependent on a responsibility or performing an action to get them.

What can adults do to help children realise their rights?

  • All adults (parents, teachers or the government) are known as Duty Bearers. It is our responsibility to make children aware of their rights and to act if their rights are not being met.