Rights Respecting School
Woodstock CE Primary School started their Rights Respecting Journey in 2018 and in 2021 successfully achieved the Gold Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA), which puts children’s rights at the heart of our school.
The Pupils' Parliament is made up of 12 ministers, representing Article 12 (Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child) and a Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State. They provide the pupils' voice from every class and link to each subject leader to provide the pupils' perspective which has an impact on future learning and impact.
‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’ Ofsted 2019
Unicef works with schools in the UK to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive. Whilst working towards achieving the first stage of this award we have ensured the Rights Respecting philosophy is embedded within the values of our school life and gives the children the best chance to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible, active citizens.
Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as our guide, we are working with more UK schools than almost any other organisation. Over 1.6 million children in the UK go to a Rights Respecting School and nearly 5,000 schools up and down the country are working through the Award. Schools work with us on a journey to become fully Rights Respecting.
The Award recognises a school’s achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into practise within the school and beyond.
Rights are discussed and explored through lessons, particularly PSHE and weekly Our World sessions. One pupil explained that “in our classrooms we have a big poster of Article 28. In our class we often talk about our rights and we made posters to help others learn.” The Respecting Rights Committee support learning within their own classes as well as across the school explaining, “We focus on one right per week.” In early years there are rights respecting displays, copies of the Convention and the Global Goals. Children are also engaged with the whole school Our World topics and receive UNICEF UK’s Paddington’s Postcards. KS1 children involved in the focus group were vocal and confident in discussing their right to be safe and how they keep healthy. A parent described how books were sought to support learning about rights and a permanent display highlights important texts to children. When talking about rights being denied, issues of war, poverty, Government corruption and inequality were raised, examples included Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King who challenged discrimination, poverty, preventing access to the internet, health and food. A child explained that “Some people might not have a good home life and their rights might not be respected. At school they can learn about their rights and feel respected.” The UN Global Goals are routinely taught across the school linking rights and action, as a member of staff explained “Children are increasingly aware of how issues such as war, poverty and the climate impact on rights.”
The school places children’s social and emotional wellbeing high on their agenda. They are supported to develop healthy lifestyles with KS1 children talking about the need to eat fruit and vegetables, make healthy choices, drinking lots of water and exercise. Additionally, cleaning teeth, getting lots of sleep and first aid training were mentioned as examples of keeping healthy. Mental health was also highlighted with a child saying, “Your mind has to stay healthy, say you are on a screen all day you need fresh air and you get very tired or you won’t get to do your best.’ The curriculum supports children to explore their feelings and to learn meditation and mindfulness skills. Pupils recognise the importance of talking about their feelings, “You can get very sad and upset if you don’t share your feelings, it can rub off on other people”’ A parent explained how they felt that learning about their rights and wellbeing has supported children to be “…more resilient and this has helped them cope over the last year.”
Children spoken with felt confident that they had a voice in school, and that their views are taken seriously. They are able to join a wide range of pupil voice groups such as the Children’s Council, Respecting Rights Committee, Global Gang, Eco and Sports groups. “Children have a confidence, and not an arrogance, that they have rights. They know they are listened to. They know they can change things,’ explained a governor. Children described how they are voted onto the Committees and that this is a fair process. At the suggestion of the Respecting Rights Committee, children’s rights are now an agenda item at every Children’s Council meeting. A review is also underway to develop a model with the Committee as an umbrella with the other pupil groups feeding in.