Rights Respecting Education, EARA and Pupil Voice
Our School Council Blog
In 1989 UNICEF established a set of 54 Articles known as the Convention for the Rights of the Child. The convention applies to every child under the age of 18, without discrimination, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities, whatever they think or say, whatever their family background. Almost every country in the world has signed this convention to uphold the Articles within their country and do all it can to protect children’s rights. The convention underpins everything UNICEF does around the world.
The convention recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with dignity and fairness, to be protected, to develop to their full potential and to participate. Every adult has a responsibility to ensure children’s rights are protected.
What is the Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA)?
The RRSA focuses on children’s rights in schools and takes a whole-school approach to child rights and human rights education. A UNICEF Rights Respecting School is a community where children’s rights are learned, taught, practised, respected, protected and promoted.
By learning about their rights, our pupils also learn about the importance of respecting the rights of others i.e. their responsibilities. Pupils at Langrish are encouraged to reflect on how their behaviour and actions affect those around them which allows us to build and maintain a positive and safe learning environment for all. RRSA links with Fundemental British Values as well as topics covered in PSHE lessons.
To achieve the UNICEF UK Rights Respecting School Award, schools are required to implement four evidence-based standards:
- Rights-respecting values underpin leadership and management
- The whole-school community learns about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The school has a rights-respecting ethos
- Children are empowered to become active citizens and learners
To find out more about what it is like to be part of a Rights Respecting School, please watch our video here:
Where are we on our journey?
- At the start of the year each class create their own Class Charter. Children chose the most important rights they believe should be respected within their classroom and have explained how they will respect these rights
- We make cross-curricular links to Articles within the UNCRC. This gives opportunity to discuss these rights both in relation to themselves and other children around the world.
- Our Behaviour policy is built around the right to be heard and kept safe.
- Assemblies remind children of their rights and how we can respect them in our everyday lives at school.
- Assemblies also celebrate children who have demonstrated excellent knowledge of their rights and ‘Good Citizen’ behaviours throughout the week.
- School policies reflect the Articles of the UNCRC demonstrating the whole school commitment to embedding them within the school ethos
- Our School Council meet regularly to discuss our rights and suggest ways to improve our school further. As a result, pupil voice is very strong throughout the school and this has a positive impact on learning, inclusion and wellbeing. The School Council are also responsible for fundraising and raising awareness of global and environmental issues
- We have a rights respecting display with key Articles shown on the walls as a reminder to everyone within the school
- The children have regular opportunity to keep up to date with issues and news from around the world when they tune into CBBC Newsround for significant world events and take part in a weekly Picture News discussion assembly.
- Children take an active part in their learning by working alongside their peers or adults to celebrate and set targets for improvement
- Children have different responsibilities around the school. Each class has monitors for a variety of jobs around the classroom. Children in Upper Key Stage 2 are assembly helpers, playground leaders and Junior Road Safety Officers. Each year, children from all classes are elected as a School Council members, Arts Ambassadors and Eco Ambassadors.
- We actively support a number of charities throughout the year. Recent charities and fundraising have supported Children in Need, Cats Protection and more!
- We have an established Eco Council in school where children are encouraged to share their thoughts on improvements that can be made in areas of sustainability and improving our school environment.
Rights Respecting Schools Award (Level 1)
Our steering committee (including: pupils, staff, a governor and community representatives) have been working towards the Level 1 Rights Respecting Schools Award, which we are delighted to say we have now achieved. The full report is attached below, but we are particularly proud of the following points:
- School Leaders have a clear commitment to the principles and values of the UNCRC and the Rights Respecting work is giving children a voice.
- Pupils are able to site a range of rights and show good understanding that rights are universal and unconditional. They are also able to apply their understanding of rights in different contexts.
- Parents and governors are supportive of the school's rights respecting work; one parent explained that for pupils it was, 'such a positive thing to have a voice.'
- The school's ethos is underpinned by high levels of respect which was very evident throughout the assessment period.
- Pupils are supportive of and courteous to each other.
- One Year 6 pupil explained that an understanding about rights helps to resolve any disagreement and is becoming 'entwined into our everyday lives.'
- When asked, pupils said they felt safe at school and were able to describe ways in which this was achieved.
Click here for more information on the UNICEF website.
Langrish Primary School is one of more than 4,000 Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools across the country that embed children's rights in their ethos and culture.
Having achieved Level 1 of the RRSA the decision was made to continue our Rights Respecting journey with the Hampshire Team overseeing RRE, and this meant that we were awarded Engagement level at the outset. We have had several opportunities to contribute towards activities locally. These have supported our understanding and implementation of the Rights on the UNCRC. These have included the Hampshire 2050 Project, hosting the Primary EARA group meetings, welcoming visitors from Toronto who looked at how we introduce the Articles on the UNCRC in Early Years, and more recently we contributed two pieces of artwork towards the Climate Crisis Art Project outside Winchester Cathedral. Our aim is to achieve Hampshire's RRE Advocate level which recognises our work for the rights of the child within the school and wider community.
We are very pleased to announce that Langrish School has been awarded the Advocacy Award for Rights Respecting Eduction from Hampshire which recognises the journey we have been on over the past five years. The full report is attached at the bottom of this page.
EARA (Equality and Rights Advocates) Group Journey
Our new, extended EARA group now comprises 8 children from across Key Stage 2, carefully selected by our senior EARA pupils for their understanding and engagement. This term we again hosted the Hampshire Primary meeting in which all of our ambassadors received their badges and underwent initial training. We are now busy planning our next steps to ensure the vision for our school EARA team, created last year, is shared and further embedded in the school community.
The EARA group joined the other Hampshire EARA groups for their final meeting this year, here at Langrish. In this meeting the EARA group demonstrated some amazing leadership skills; talking to other schools about the meaning of the word EARA and recapping the importance of all the rights that we have. EARA group spoke about what they have been doing throughout the term, highlighting how they completed two assemblies for both KS1 and KS2 and acquired the rest of the school to complete a mindfulness art challenge in their classes.
Our EARA group joined the other Hampshire EARA groups for their termly meeting at Springwood Junior School this month. Before Christmas, each group had been challenged to create their own mission statement to help pupil’s within their schools understand their role. Our group volunteered to share their mission statement as part of a longer presentation, in which they also showed their knowledge of the UNCRC’s rights and initiated a discussion with their audience through a rights quiz!
The main focus for this month’s EARA meeting was based around art, in particular, how art can be interpreted in different ways and how it can make you feel. Many pieces of art work were shown during the morning, including a picture of a lion. The children were then asked to draw or doodle how they were feeling that day, e.g. a boat on level water was drawn to show calmness or doodles were drawn to shown nervousness. On their return to Langrish, our EARA group then planned an assembly for each Key Stage to share their discussion and encourage everyone to reflect on how they could use art to represent their emotions. Each class was then challenged to complete a drawing of their choice to represent their feelings.
As an Advocate School, our EARA group were invited to open the Inclusion and Diversity County Conference. They shared what it was like to be part of a Rights Respecting school and what difference this means for our school. They presented beautifully despite not knowing any of the delegates. Their presentation slides are below. Well done team!
We have had the privilege to take part in a Commission of enquiry by Hampshire County Council aimed at understanding what people who live in the county think that Hampshire should look like in the future.
Ten pupils from KS2 attended two sessions with an advisor from the Children’s Services team and were given the opportunity to talk about what they want Hampshire to be like in 2050 and what might prevent this from happening.
Some of the children involved expressed their opinions about the opportunity to participate in the commission:
‘I felt that by listening to my opinion, it would help to change things’ - Year 3
‘I felt that they were really interested in what children had to say and how we could have a say in the future’ - Year 3
‘It was useful because we got to think about what we wanted to leave for our descendants’ - Year 5
‘I felt like I was being listened to and I knew what I could do when I am older if I don’t have a good environment’ - Year 5
‘It was useful that I was listened to and to know that I could make a change about what happens in the future’ - Year 5
‘I think it will be really useful to them to know some children’s opinions on what is happening and the future’ - Year 4