The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a set of articles which apply to every child. A guide to UNCRC is provided here for your reference:
On March 16th 2018 Harlaw Academy became the first secondary school in the United Kingdom to be assessed at and achieve Gold for the Rights Respecting School Award. The banner which we are allowed to display here and is on display in our hall says “Children’s Rights are learned, understood and lived in this school”
If we think about the right to an education (article 28) it lets us speak to children about why this right is important and it also lets us deepen an understanding of the right eg if other children disrupt classes they are denying their classmates one of their rights. This will help us reach a point where rights are lived ie pupils will behave in a way which respects the right of others to an education.
The same basic ideas can be applied to any of the rights which we can put under 4 main categories – survival, protection, participation and development. By placing an emphasis on UNCRC we are able to ensure what we do is linked to these 4 essential ideas and to the 40 + articles of UNCRC.
This increased awareness of UNCRC has helped pupil representatives to shape school improvements around rights.
- They asked the local authority for a school sign which they linked to their right to an identity (articles 7 and 8)
- They pressed for new water fountains linked to their right to clean water (article 24)
- They worked with other to improve their playgrounds the right to play and join groups (articles 15 and 31)
On 31st May 2018 we were awarded with our banner. We invited people along, showed a brief slideshow and got the canteen to lay on some refreshments. You can see our slideshow here: https://harlawacademy.aberdeen.sch.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=2314&action=edit
31/05/18 Coucillor Douglas Lumsden, Aberdeen City Council Co Leader was invited to attend the award ceremony for the UNICEF Gold Award Banner and met Ashleigh Wilson ( Lead co ordinator in Rights Respective Initiative) and Paula Paulina, (16YO S4-Rights Respective Ambassador)
At the start of session 2019-2020 Mr Innes highlighted some of the other things we were now doing to make sure that pupil voices were being heard and being heard on things that mattered to us. You can see the slides of that presentation here: Assemblies August 2019
Knowing about our rights keeps us safe (protection and survival) and helps us to be the best we can be (development and participation).
Children are “rights holders” and adults have a duty to ensure our rights are respected – adults are “duty bearers”. All children have all of the rights, they are not something people give to us or can take away from us we have them because we are children – the words for this are that our rights are; Universal and Unconditional, they are also Inherent, Inalienable and Indivisible.
Whilst children do not have responsibilities as such we should not try to abuse our rights and we should always respect the rights of other children. An example of this is in a class where one child who wants to express their opinion also needs to respect of others to learn. Or in the playground some children who want to play a lively game can do so but not where it is disrupting a group who want to sit quietly.