This year The High School is working for the level 2 Rights Respecting School Award organised by UNICEF. We are one of only 2 secondary schools within the South Eastern Education and Library Board who are working for this award.
What is the Rights Respecting School Award?
One of the greatest challenges that schools face is to define a clear set of values - not just rules - that has been developed with the full school community and is actively upheld by all. UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) helps schools to use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as the values framework that enables this to be achieved.
The UNCRC enhances pupils' understanding of the consequences of individual and group actions on the rights of others locally and globally. The articles of the Convention are based on the recognition of every child's basic needs in order to thrive. The UNCRC therefore sets out a child's rights to:
- Survive and have good health
- Be protected from harm
- Develop their talents and skills
- Participate in the world to which they belong.
In order to achieve the award the school must meet the required standards across four aspects of school life. These are:
- Leadership and management which promotes the values of the UNCRC in the life of the school
- Knowledge of the UNCRC including an understanding that with rights comes responsibilities
- Rights-respecting climate and culture in the classroom
- Active pupil participation in decision making.
When the school feels it has met the required standards a UNICEF UK Education Officer will conduct an assessment. This is usually after a period of 18 months. If the necessary standards are confirmed the school will be presented with a certificate.
How does the RRSA make a difference?
Children and young people can raise their achievement at school and improve the quality of their lives, if they learn exactly what their rights and responsibilities are according to the UNCRC and use this understanding as a guide to living.
Children and young people will know how to go about making informed decisions and become confident, active citizens if this "rights and responsibilities" guide to living is introduced at an early age and reinforced through school life.
Evidence gathered from schools that have already completed the award suggests that there has been a positive impact on school ethos, pupils' self-esteem, behaviour and their development as global citizens.
Further information can be obtained from http://www.unicef.org.uk/rrsa