Rights Respecting Schools
How the scheme works
The Rights Respecting Schools Award is a UNICEF initiative that aims to put children’s rights at the heart of schools.
It embeds children’s rights in daily school life and empowers children to grow into responsible, active global citizens.
The programme involves working with schools to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured, and they are able to thrive.
The Award recognises the achievement of a school in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into practice within the school and beyond.
There are three stages to the award:
- Bronze: Rights Committed This is the first stage of the Rights Respecting Schools Award. It is a planning stage. When you are ready, you will supply documented evidence of your school’s commitment and how you intend to become rights respecting. We estimate it takes a school between 3-6 months to achieve Bronze. There is no assessment visit for this stage.
- Silver: Rights Aware This is the second stage. It is granted by Unicef UK to schools that show good progress towards embedding children’s rights in the school’s policy, practice and ethos. Schools will be assessed by a Unicef UK RRSA assessor who will look at the whole school’s rights respecting work.
- Gold: Rights Respecting This is the highest stage of the Rights Respecting Schools Award. It is granted by Unicef UK to schools that have fully embedded children’s rights throughout the school in its policies, practice and ethos. Schools will be assessed by a Unicef UK RRSA assessor(s) who will look at the whole school’s rights respecting work.
Given the positive impact the Award has been shown to have on schools, in July of 2018 the Children’s Commissioner offered all schools in Jersey support to progress through the Award.
Since this support was made available there are now 42 schools, across primary and secondary, working towards either bronze, silver or gold.
So far, 1 of our schools are at the registration stage, 15 are at bronze, 23 are at silver, and 3 have attained gold.
What children told us
Together with our UNICEF colleagues, we have been able to get a good sense of the value that the scheme has brought to children and young people across Jersey.
Here are just some of the comments we've received from them.
Children in Silver schools spoke positively about how learning about rights helped them to “be involved” in school life and “know what’s going on around the world” (KS 2 child).
They understood how school helps them to enjoy their rights with one child explaining that the CRC, “helps you, as an adult, give children their rights.”
Another child explained that, “Learning about rights make you feel safer.”
Other children talked about situations like child marriage: “It’s like discrimination, because they don’t get the same opportunities.”
In the RRSA Gold school, many children were informed and empowered by their knowledge of rights. Rights Ambassadors took their role “to make sure all the children learn about their rights” very seriously. Many children were able to clearly articulate how the school facilitates their enjoyment of rights and the benefits of being a rights respecting school. For example, when talking about the impact RRSA has had, one child explained, “It’s a more positive place – we work together more and teachers tell us the reasons why and link it back to rights.”
When asked what they were most proud of one child said, “Proud of how the school has changed from not knowing rights to where we are now.”
Schools who have developed this programme and implemented their plan to achieve silver have reported a significant improvement in the results of the surveys that are conducted with their staff and students.
What teachers told us
The popularity of the Rights Respecting Schools programme has been overwhelming, with Jersey seeing a very high participation rate.
As well as enormously positive feedback from children at schools across the Island, we have also had a lot of comments from teachers.
We have run seven training days place with more than 55 teachers attending.
These are just some of the comments we received
- “A very useful course which has broadened my own understanding … I now understand how to move forward as Rights Respecting school.”
- “I came with limited knowledge of the UNCRC am now fully prepared for Bronze.”
- “Very clear and useful course. Useful resources and ideas of how to share rights across the school.”
- “Really met our needs.”
- “Really helpful to build confidence towards Silver… practical ideas and solutions.”
- “I feel much more confident to deliver this in my school.”
- “Developed my understanding of the UNCRC and how it is applicable to me and my students.”