What is a Rights Respecting School?
At St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, we have received the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools 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).
At St. Mary’s, children learn about their rights and responsibilities. They 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 27) and children have the right to be protected at all times (article 19).
Across the school, we have charters or agreements that the children have drawn up in order to make our school a Rights Respecting place. The children realise that they have a responsibility to themselves, to ensure that they take the opportunities that their rights offer.
At St. Mary’s we display all 42 rights on our Rights Respecting board. Every Monday a child from each class selects an article from our display to bring back to their class. Teachers, adults and children discuss this article throughout the week until a new article is selected the following Monday.
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 responsibilities?
Yes, with rights come responsibilities. These include:
For children: the responsibility to respect the rights of others.
For parents: 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 and responsibilities under the UNCRC, they are more respecting of the rights of others. Children who have learnt about their rights and responsibilities have :
- a better understanding of what it means to have rights and responsibilities
- 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
Will children take advantage of adults if they are taught about their rights?
It is made clear that children not only have rights, but also the responsibility to respect the rights of others. That includes respect for parents, their values and culture. The Convention recognises the central importance of parents. It says that the government must respect the responsibility of parents for providing appropriate guidance for their children, including how children shall exercise their rights.
How can parents/carers 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 and responsibilities.
- 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 and responsibility language with your children.
- Ask your child’s opinion on children’s rights.
How can parents/carers use RRS language at home?
Here are some examples of how you can use RRS language:
It is your right to play and your responsibility to tidy up your toys.
You have a right to eat and a responsibility to sit properly at the table and eat your food sensibly.
You have a right to watch television, but a responsibility to turn it off when it is time for tea.
You have a right to your opinion and a responsibility to listen to other people’s opinions.
You have the right to live in a clean world and the responsibility to put your rubbish in the bin.
How does teaching about children's rights fit in with the aims of the St. Mary’s?
As a Christian learning community, which promotes the values of family life, we support parents/carers as primary educators of their children and recognise the rights of the child.
The aim of both RRS and St. Mary’s is to help children in achieving their potential and become responsible citizens. Through a curriculum that encourages creativity at every opportunity, we challenge all within our community to strive for the highest standard of personal, social and intellectual development, and aim for excellence in all we do.
We recognise that we are all unique and aim to support each other along our personal journey of faith, treating others with respect.
During the day to day life of our school and in all aspects of the curriculum we promote Gospel values, paying special consideration to loving our neighbour wherever they may live in the world.
We recognise the Spirituality of every member of our community and provide opportunities for all to experience prayer, worship and reflection.
“My commandment is this - Love one another just as I love you” John 15:12
Our four houses, Suffragettes, Amnesty, Greenpeace and Tolpuddle have their own charters.
Suffragettes’ ‘Creativity’ Charter
Everyone has the right to have their opinion listened to
Everyone has the right to reliable information from the media
Everyone has the right to education
Everyone has the right to an education that develops their talents and abilities to the full and encourages support for human rights
Amnesty’s ‘Love’ Charter
Everyone has the right to life
Everyone has the right to protection from harm
Everyone has the right to food, water and health care
Everyone has the right to a good standard of living
Everyone has all the rights in the UNCRC
Greenpeace’s ‘Spirituality’ Charter
Everyone has the right to believe and think what they want and to practise their religion
Everyone has the right to a green and peaceful environment
Tolpuddle’s ‘Respect’ Charter
Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect
Everyone has the right to play
Everyone has the right to learn
Everyone has the right to be safe and to be protected from harm
Everyone has the right to have their opinion listened to
If you are interested in finding out more about Rights Respecting, go onto the school website and the follow the links to Rights Respecting.
As a Rights Respecting School these are some of the things we have been up to!
Classroom charters, playtime charters, lunchtime charters set up
Eco schools club
Link to school in Colombia – watch this space!
Comic Relief 2014 This year, St. Mary’s supported Comic Relief. We all dressed up as our favourite Super Hero and raised lots of money.
Mrs Ngadeu’s husband went to Cameroon to help set up a new school there. St. Mary’s children donated lots of stationery to this school in Cameroon.
We worked with Samaritan’s Purse to send 73 Christmas gift boxes to children overseas who would otherwise not get a present at Christmas.
Article 24: Every child has the right to eat in a clean environment.
We will be reminding the children who do not eat hot school meals that they have a responsibility to put all their lunchtime rubbish in their lunchbox and take it home. This also helps you to monitor how much your child is eating at lunch. If you have any concerns regarding lunchtimes, Miss Trent (KS1) and Mr Howard (KS2) will be pleased to talk to you.