6 November 2015 - Students at Newark Primary in Inverclyde will today (Friday 6 November 2015) kick off Scotland’s official celebrations of the World’s Largest Lesson as part of a week of events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Government’s International Development Programme.

The school will welcome Children and Young People’s Minister Aileen Campbell to their school to start the initiative from Unicef and partners, including Education Scotland, to teach children in over 100 countries about the new Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted by the UN General Assembly last month.

Newark Primary School is a Unicef UK Rights Respecting School (RRS), having been awarded Level 2, the highest possible level, for its work embedding children’s rights at the heart of school life. The RRS programme has been shown to improve schools, through increasing children’s wellbeing and positive feelings about school.

Headteachers consistently report that becoming an RRS school develops tolerance, a better understanding of one another, an appreciation of diversity, and increases engagement with learning because students understand that each one of them has a right to learn. There are more than 3,700 schools across the UK currently engaged with RRS, but only around 250 have achieved Level 2. 

Newark Primary School Headteacher, Janet Leicester, will welcome Ms Campbell to the Port Glasgow School and will be joined by Lucinda Rivers, Head of Unicef in Scotland and Inverclyde Council’s Education Convener, Councillor Terry Loughran. The visitors will be invited to write down their favourite Sustainable Development Goal, and join children being photographed holding their chosen SDG.

The Minister said: “I am thrilled to be here at Newark Primary School today, a Unicef UK Rights Respecting School in the week we celebrate 10 years of the Scottish Government’s International Development Programme. It is very impressive to witness the commitment to children’s rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is such an important document in building a stronger and better future.

“The First Minister has committed the Scottish Government to adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, which address important objectives including ending poverty, ensuring access to education and achieving gender equality. The children here at Newark are well-placed in their understanding of rights and responsibilities, and I hope they will go on to play a significant role in helping achieve these targets.” 

Lucinda Rivers, Head of Unicef UK in Scotland, said: “We are delighted that World’s Largest Lesson is being launched in Scotland today to help children everywhere realise how they can play their part in shaping the world. We need all their ideas and enthusiasm if we are going to build a better world for them and deal with the many challenges we all face.

“I would also like to congratulate the Scottish Government on 10 years of their International Development programme. At Unicef we are grateful for their support during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and more recently during the floods in Malawi. We look forward to working with them in the future.”

Inverclyde Council’s Education and Communities Convener, Councillor Terry Loughran, said: “We are delighted to welcome Unicef representatives and Children and Young People’s Minister Aileen Campbell to Newark Primary School to see first hand the excellent work being delivered in one of our flagship schools. It is a tremendous honour to have Newark as the launch pad for this exciting initiative in Scotland which delivers great work across the world. Unicef is an organisation which has supported the delivery of Rights Respecting Schools across Inverclyde.”

Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director for School Years at Education Scotland said: “We are pleased to be working with Unicef and Inverclyde Council to welcome the Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell to launch the World’s Largest Lesson at Newark Primary. The launch of the initiative highlights the new Sustainable Development Goals that our next generation of learners will be aiming to achieve. Newark is helping children and young people to realise their place in our society by supporting them to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need to contribute more effectively to social justice and sustainability, both in their own communities and around the world.”

You can find out more about International Development Week via social media using the hashtag #scotID10


Notes for Editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk