I was delighted to learn that Ferryhill Primary School had gained level 1 of the Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA).  RRSA has been developed by UNICEF UK to recognise work done by schools to promote the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): UNCRC guide for children

At Harlaw Academy we are working on becoming a Rights Respecting School and in this blog I want to set out a little bit of detail around RRSA and UNCRC.

The 42 articles in the convention are universal – in other words they apply to every child in the world.

They are also all unconditional – in other words they cannot be given or taken away.

Children are ‘rights holders’ – in other words the rights are theirs.

Adults are ‘duty bearers’ – in other words adults have a duty to protect children and ensure they can enjoy all of their rights.

In schools which have gained the Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) children respect the rights of other children and the interaction between children and adults is also built on rights respecting behaviours.

Article 1 of the convention emphasises that all articles apply to all children up to age 18.

Article 42 highlights the need for Governments to make adults and children aware of the convention.

By emphasising the convention I hope all pupils attending Harlaw Academy will have:

  • an education which will develop their talents to the full (articles 28 and 29)
  • a voice on things which will impact upon them (articles 12 and 13)
  • the opportunity to enjoy leisure, culture and to make friends (articles 15 and 21)
  • their best interests put to the fore (article 3)
  • the opportunity to enjoy all of their rights and the support and protection this provides

Sadly many children and young people in the world do not enjoy all of their rights all of the time.  We often think of war torn areas, places where disasters have struck etc when we think of children who are being denied their rights.  But even within our own City, indeed our own local area, there are children living in extreme poverty, there are children who are being exploited, there are children who are being victimised/bullied, there are children who do not have a voice and there are children who are not getting an education which will develop their talents to the full.

We need children to be aware of their rights and to be confident in the protection and support these rights should provide.  Well done to Ferryhill Primary School in achieving level 1 of the award – we hope to work with you to help Harlaw Academy to achieve level 1 before summer 2016.