Rights Respecting Schools
Why be a Rights Respecting School?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is based on what children need to thrive. These needs can be grouped into four categories:
To survive as a fit and healthy person
To stay safe and be protected from harm and abuse
To develop physically, mentally and socially to be the best they can be
To participate in the world as an active citizen
So, what are Children’s Rights?
Children’s Rights are different to Human Rights as they are specific to children. Most countries have agreed to them and they form the basis of all Government laws that affect children. The Rights are for All children, everywhere all of the time. Children are automatically entitled to them when they are Born. These rights Cannot be taken away, Do not have to be earned and are all Equally important. This is the ABCDE of Children’s Rights!
You can take a look here at this Pocket Book of Children’s Rights which details all the Rights in the UNCRC.
At Down Hall we are fully committed to these Rights. They are at the heart of everything that we do; our policies, procedures, statements, visions and also at the heart of our teaching.
What does this mean?
We teach children about their Rights so that they are informed. Classrooms operate on a mutual respect of Children’s Rights and each class develops a Class Charter every September which is agreed to by all children and adults.
Our project learning is often looked at from a Rights Respecting perspective. For example, as half term homework Year 5/6 children were asked to use their learned knowledge to make a model of an Anglo Saxon house and discuss the question, "Did Anglo Saxon children have their Rights met?" Children had lots of fun making and sharing their models, and a great discussion about living as an Anglo Saxon child on return to school.
Our Curriculum Rationale is, ‘Learning to take care of ourselves, each other, our school and our world.’ We think it is important that our children develop a wider world view, a deeper understanding of community and of how life can be experienced differently, both locally and globally. We want our children to be well equipped to play active lives in the world around them as they grow, learn and evolve into the next generation of adults.
Article 12 states, ‘Every child has a right to have their voice heard in matters that affect them’. At Down Hall our children do just that via the school council where ideas can be developed and whole school changes instigated. We are always keen to allow further opportunities to fulfil Article 12, for example, by taking part in ‘The Big Ask’ survey from the Children’s Commissioner.
Through project learning, our children develop an awareness of environmental issues and the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This sometimes leads to spin off projects like this amazing creative art work designed to raise awareness of environmental pollution.
What do we actually do?
So, our children really are the experts on Children’s Rights, but is there anything we can actually do to help other children who are not having their rights met? YES! There absolutely is and here are just a few examples from us…
Sponsor a child’s education - our children voted to sponsor through Action Aid. We wear Christmas jumpers to raise money every year for Thoko to get an education in Malawi. We have been sponsoring her since 2018 and regularly receive and reply to her letters.
Harvest - we collect much needed basic necessities. These are given to our local ‘Extended Services’ team who make sure they go to children and families who need them most in our own local community.
Comic Relief & Children in Need - we take part in these campaigns to help people who are not having their basic needs met. Children look at the projects that benefit from the fundraising and think about the Rights that are being supported.
Shoeshare - we facilitate collections for this joint project between UNICEF and Clarks. Children bring in old shoes to their class and then package them up for delivery to raise money for UNICEF projects - here is a huge tower of boxes containing all the shoes we collected!
If you would like to know more about us a Rights Respecting School then you can ask any member of staff, but remember… the real experts are the children so give them a try first as you might find that they can answer your question better than we can!