What are ‘Children’s Rights’?
“Article 1 (definition of the child): Everyone under the age of 18 has all the rights in the Convention.”
Every child is entitled to specific human rights as children are classed as a vulnerable group. These rights are detailed in the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child. There are 45 articles which explain all the rights that children hold legally across the world.
What is a Rights Respecting School?
“Article 42 (knowledge of rights): Governments must actively work to make sure children and adults know about the Convention.”
A rights respecting school is one officially recognised by the charity UNICEF for actively teaching children about their rights. Together young people and the school community learn about children’s rights, putting them into practice every day.
There are four key areas of impact for children at a Rights Respecting school; wellbeing, participation, relationships and self-esteem. The difference that a Rights Respecting School makes goes beyond the school gates, making a positive impact on the whole community, with the outcomes being that:
- Children are healthier and happier.
- Children feel safe.
- Children have better relationships.
- Children become active and involved in school life and the wider world.
Being a Rights respecting school is not just about what children do and learn but also, importantly, what adults ( duty-bearers) do. In Rights Respecting Schools children’s rights are promoted and realised, adults and children work towards this goal together.
We are proud to be a Rights Respecting Gold Award school. This means that children learn about their rights across the curriculum, children learn to respect each others rights:
- in the classroom (Article 28: the right to an education),
- in the dining hall (Article 24: the right to nutritious food and clean water),
- in the playground, (Article 31: the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities)
- in the local community (Article 2: child rights apply to every child without discrimination, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status, whatever they think or say, whatever their family background.).
- and as a global citizen (Article 4 (implementation of the Convention) Governments must do all they can to make sure every child can enjoy their rights by creating systems and passing laws that promote and protect children’s rights.)
However, children are not in charge of ensuring children’s rights are realised… Adults are!
All staff who work at Shoreditch Park Primary School take their role as duty bearers (the role of duty bearers is to uphold the rights of the child ) very seriously. Staff members receive training, teach lessons and engage children in discussions around their rights frequently.
Steering group is a pupil voice group, which focuses on children's rights. The group is made up of 8 representatives from across the school. They meet at least once a half term to discuss and decide how to raise awareness around children's rights. When steering group feel strongly about injustices in their local community or in other parts of the world, they take action by fundraising, campaigning or petitioning.
For example, for International Children’s Day 2018 Steering group hosted the Deputy Mayor of Hackney and wrote letters to the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville expressing their concerns around the treatment of Refugee children.
Article 22 (refugee children) If a child is seeking refuge or has refugee status, governments must provide them with appropriate protection and assistance to help them enjoy all the rights in the Convention. Governments must help refugee children who are separated from their parents to be reunited with them.
They received correspondence from Mayor Glanville, which helped them get a deeper understanding around refugees in Hackney and they also appeared in local newspapers, raising the profile in the community around children’s rights.
Lastly, Steering group also support national and international charities which link closely to promoting children’s rights. Keep an eye on the newsletter to find out about upcoming projects or fundraising days!
“A charter is a visual document that establishes an agreed set of rights-based principles upon which relationships can be based and which provide a language for shared values. Creating charters can support a positive learning environment for children and young people the classroom, across the whole school, in the playground or in specific departments or other areas within the school context.
Creating a charter helps to make the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) more prominent and relevant.” - UNICEF
At Shoreditch Park Primary School we make class charters every new academic year to ensure that our classrooms are a place where children’s rights are respected. Adults (Duty-bearers) and Children (Rights-holders) make pledges to explain how they are going to use the UN Convention within school (and also home) life.
Have a look at some of the pledges made this year:
Donaldson and Browne class have pledged to respect:
Article 31 (leisure, play and culture) Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.
Grey and Deacon Class have made pledges to respect:
Article 12 (respect for the views of the child) Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example during immigration proceedings, housing decisions or the child’s day-to-day home life.
Jeffers and Hoffman class have learnt about being global citizens and have pledged to respect different articles of their choosing, with lots of people choosing:
Article 28 (right to education) Every child has the right to an education. Primary education must be free and different forms of secondary education must be available to every child. Discipline in schools must respect children’s dignity and their rights. Richer countries must help poorer countries achieve this.
Briggs and King Smith class have made class charters focusing on 5 articles! Lots of children decided to pledge to respect:
Article 14 (freedom of thought, belief and religion) Every child has the right to think and believe what they choose and also to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents to guide their child as they grow up.
Almond and Morpurgo class chose to respect the articles related to education 28 and 29 with the children thinking of ways they could ensure they respect their right to education:
Article 29 (goals of education) Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
Dahl and Tan class focused on their rights and responsibilities in developing their talents and their freedom of expression:
Year 6 :
Milligan and Zephaniah Class wrote detailed pledges, explaining how they personally would try and help ensure children at Shoreditch Park Primary School would be able to realise their rights. Many chidlren focused on:
Article 2 (non-discrimination) The Convention applies to every child without discrimination, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status, whatever they think or say, whatever their family background.
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