What is a Rights Respecting School?

At John Perryn School, we are working towards achieving 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 need 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 do this.  This is the purpose of the RRSA (Rights Respecting School Award).  In a rights respecting school, children learn about their rights and responsibilities.  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 27) and children have 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.

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

How does teaching about children's rights fit in with the aims of the school?

The aim of both RRSA and our school is to help children in achieving their potential and become responsible citizens.  What is taught in the RRS curriculum helps children learn respect for self, others, critical thinking skills and informed decision-making.

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

  • Take the time to ask your child about what he/she has learnt recently about rights and responsibilities.
  • Discuss how your family can promote respect for rights, or help those whose rights have been denied.
  • Ask your child's opinion on children's rights.
  • Use rights and responsibility language with your children.