Pupils as young as three at St Margaret's Prep have shown they understand the importance of children’s rights as laid down in a United Nations Convention.
Every pupil has spent the past 18 months taking part in a project overseen by UNICEF. Now the school has been rewarded by gaining Rights Respecting School Level 1 status after assessors visited to talk to children, staff, governors and parents.
St Margaret’s Rights Respecting School Co-ordinator Jo Perkins said: “We are very pleased to have received this status. It is something we have been working towards for almost two academic years. All pupils from Kindergarten to Year 6 have been involved and have learnt in an age appropriate way about how different circumstances can affect children’s lives around the world. We have worked closely with the children to ensure that they know and understand their key rights and are able to access them within school and their own lives. They have been very enthusiastic to learn more and we hope the values will stay with them throughout their lives.”
Each classroom has its own Class Charter that children sign up to that reminds them about every child’s right to be safe and respected. The school has also held fundraising events to support children living in poverty. In May it raised £509 from a cake sale and by filling jars with coins.
Headmistress Karen Cordon said: “The assessors especially praised the contributions made by the children and felt that the ‘Respecting Rights’ ethos permeates throughout the school. This is something which we have collectively worked towards and the outcome we were keen to achieve.”
The articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child lay down what governments must do so that children are healthy, can learn at school, receive protection, have their views listened to and are treated fairly regardless of their race or religion or whatever type of family they come from.
Every pupil was given a ‘Pocket Book of Children’s Rights’ supported by UNICEF UK and families were asked to discuss them at home in order to support the school initiative.