The Rights Respecting Schools Award puts children’s rights at the heart of schools in the UK.
The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) works with schools in the UK to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive. Our Rights Respecting Schools Award embeds these values in daily school life and gives children the best chance to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible, active citizens.
Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as our guide, we are working with more UK schools than almost any other organisation. Over 1.6 million children in the UK go to a Rights Respecting School and nearly 5,000 schools up and down the country are working through the Award. Schools work with us on a journey to become fully Rights Respecting.
The Award recognises a school’s achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into practice within the school and beyond.
How does the RRSA link with other school initiatives?
The RRSA programme unifies a range of educational priorities in all UK jurisdictions; the global dimension, social and emotional aspects of learning, community cohesion and sustainable development.
How is the RRSA funded?
As a registered charity, we rely entirely on voluntary donations to fund our vital work for children and their rights. Therefore, we charge an annual membership fee to enable us to deliver the Rights Respecting Schools programme. This gives schools access to membership benefits including training, support from our Professional Advisers, e-learning, assessments and other activities. Our RRSA programme does not make a profit – it simply seeks to cover our running costs.
What is the focus of the Award?
The UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools Award supports schools across the UK to embed children’s human rights in their ethos and culture.
The Award recognises achievement in putting the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) at the heart of a school’s practice to improve wellbeing and help all children and young people realise their potential.
The Award is based on principles of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation. The initiative started in 2006 and schools involved in the Award have reported a positive impact on relationships and wellbeing, leading to better learning and behavior, improved academic standards and less bullying.
Who is the Award for?
The Award is aimed at schools across the UK, including those in an early years setting. We currently work with nearly 5,000 primary schools, secondary schools, nursery schools, schools for children and young people with special educational needs and pupil referral units across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Schools need to register with us to take part in the programme.
What does the Award involve?
Schools involved in the Rights Respecting Schools Award work towards the recognition that they have embedded children’s and young people’s rights in their school’s practice and ethos. Schools are required to implement three evidence-based strands that cover the leadership of the school, knowledge and understanding of children’s rights, ethos and relationships and the empowerment of children and young people.
There are three levels to the Award:
The journey to Gold: Rights Respecting, the highest stage of the Award granted by UNICEF UK, can take three to four years. Silver and Gold accreditations are valid for three years, after which time schools must be re-accredited.