“Children do not lose their human rights by virtue of passing through the school gates” (Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment on ‘The aims of education’, 2001).

At Unicef UK, we work with thousands of schools across the UK to promote children's rights and to put them at the heart of schools’ practice and ethos. The Rights Respecting Schools Award programme supports schools to embed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC or CRC) in their practice to improve well-being and help all children and young people to realise their potential.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the human rights of every person under the age of 18. The Convention is an international human rights treaty which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 and ratified by the UK in 1991.

The Convention is a very important document because it 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. It also lays out what countries must do to ensure that all children and young people can enjoy their rights, regardless of who they are, or where they are from.

The Rights Respecting Schools Award focuses on children’s rights in schools and takes a whole-school approach to child rights and human rights education. Child Rights Education (CRE) can be defined as learning about rights, learning through rights and learning for rights within an overall context of education as a right. It aims to build the capacity of children and young people as rights-holders to claim their rights, and the capacity of adults as duty-bearers to fulfil their obligations. Child rights education helps adults, children and young people to work together, providing the space and encouragement for the meaningful participation and sustained civic engagement of children and young people.

 
Children's Rights © Unicef UK/14/Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
The Rights Respecting Schools Award focuses on children’s rights in schools and takes a whole-school approach to child rights education.© Unicef UK/14/Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert