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Rights Respecting School

What is a Rights Respecting School?

At Southwark Park School, we have received the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Gold Award. UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) is the organisation working specifically for children and their rights. Its mission is to campaign for the protection of children’s rights in order to meet children’s basic needs and empower them to realise their full potential.

UNICEF UK believes that these values should be embedded in the ethos and curriculum of our schools, and provides a framework in order to accomplish this. This is the purpose of the RRSA (Rights Respecting School Award). In a rights respecting school, children learn about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children learn to associate rights with needs and distinguish between their rights and ‘wants’. They learn that if they have rights they need to respect the rights of others.

Why are children learning about their rights at school?

In signing the UNCRC all Governments have a responsibility to make both children and adults aware of these rights. There are 42 rights of a child (articles) in the convention covering things such as; children having the right to education (article 28) and children having the right to be protected at all times (article 19).

What is meant by ‘rights’?

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

Does the UNCRC talk about respecting others rights?

Yes, we must ensure we respect the rights of others. These include:

  •  -  For children (Rights Holders): to respect the rights of other children.
  •  -  For parents, teachers and other adults (Duty Bearers): to respect and provide for the rights of their children.
  •  -  For governments: to support families and to respect and provide for the rights of children.

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

Research has shown that when children are taught in school about their rights under the UNCRC, they are more respecting of the rights of others. Children who have learnt about their rights have:

  •  a better understanding of what it means to have rights
  •  a more positive attitude to school
  •  better relationships with their classmates and teachers
  •  -  higher self-esteem
  •  -  an increased awareness of how to be a global citizen

Teaching about rights at Southwark Park

Becoming a Rights Respecting school supports our children in achieving their potential and becoming responsible global citizens. Our integrated curriculum helps children learn respect for self, others, critical thinking skills and informed decision-making. We have embedded children’s rights within our teaching, ethos and school policies. We believe that the principles and values of being a Rights Respecting school has positive impact on the children’s learning environment. Children and adults have an in depth understanding of children’s rights and the UNCRC through an embedded curriculum, learning within PSHE lessons and in whole school assemblies. The children at Southwark Park know that they are Rights Holders and that adults are Duty Bearers. Our pupils are able to use rights-respecting language within lessons and outside of school and are aware that the rights of the child relate to children around the world. 

How can parents support their child to learn about the Convention at home?

  •  Take the time to ask your child what he/she has learnt recently regarding children’s rights
  • Discuss the ideas learned in class, and try to think of examples from your own experiences, or from the media, of rights being respected or denied.
  •  Discuss how your child or your family can promote respect for rights, or help those whose rights have been violated.
  •  Model using rights related language with your children.
  •  Ask your child’s opinion on children’s rights.

Our Rights Respecting Team

Our school council at Southwark Park are also our Rights Respecting Team. They have an active role in promoting children’s understanding of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. We meet every two weeks to discuss new ways we can advocate positive change for our own school community and wider community too. The team have also been sharing their knowledge of the Global Goals and have held whole school events to support children’s learning around this.

The Rights Respecting Team held their own workshops in all classes from Nursery to Year 6 and shared new games and resources with them. We also held an after school workshop for parents and carers where they could use these resources with their children.

In July 2019, the team organised a video screening of our TV club’s film ‘Taps and Toilets’. The film focusses on Global Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and promotes being more responsible with water. The rights respecting team invited parents and carers and got everyone involved in learning about Global Goal 6.