Every child, no matter who they are or where they live, has the right to grow up safe, happy and healthy.
The Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at the heart of a school’s planning, policies, practice and ethos.
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights. UNICEF works with families, local communities, partners and governments in more than 190 countries to transform children’s lives by protecting and promoting their rights. UNICEF supports children by providing health care, nutrition and education. UNICEF protects children affected by war, natural disasters and AIDS. In the UK, UNICEF champions children’s rights and works to win support and raise money for our work for children worldwide.
Bourne Elsea Park is a UNICEF Rights Respecting school. Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter. Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a Student Council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school. All Student Council members for each class are voted in by their peers. The Student Council ensures that all pupils have ownership of the school, how it operates and therefore their education. At Bourne Elsea Park,‘ every Child has a Voice.
The school has been awarded the Unicef Rights Respecting Schools Gold Award. Following on from receiving Level 1 in 2016, the school has developed their work towards this award, progressing in particular in their focus on Global Learning and helping the pupils to develop their role as Global Citizens. A glowing report has focused on the continued ethos of the school as a place where respect and equal rights are promoted, lived out and celebrated and in particular how seamlessly this is integrated with the school’s Christian vision and ethos. These opportunities come through enterprises including British Values Day which involved democratic voting for Student Council, ECO School awards, International School awards, Unicef Day for Change, Africa Day and fundraising for The Friends of Nyansakia. Pupils have also been learning about working conditions for children in Victorian Britain, lack of rights for victims and prisoners of war, Black History Month, how to support the rights of refugee children through the Unicef OutRight Campaign, multi-cultural festivals, E-safety and Friendship week. On the day of our visit the pupils impressed Mr Martin Russell, a Unicef assessor for RRSA, by their knowledge of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC) and how they can play an active part in protecting their own rights and that of children around the world. He congratulated the children, staff, governors and parents/carers on their commitment and enthusiasm to the Rights Based approach to learning. This is undoubtedly a deserved acclamation of praise and we are incredibly proud. Well done once again to our fabulous school community!
As a Rights Respecting School we are proud to take part in many UNICEF projects and initiatives such as Day for Change and Shoe Share. One that is most important to us is the Outright Campaign which we focus on annually. OutRight by Unicef UK helps to put the children’s rights into practice and encourages them to speak out in support of all children’s rights in the UK and around the world to local and national members of parliament. It’s a campaign for children, by children. For the last two years our campaigns have followed closely with our school’s ethos for sustainability and protection of the environment, alongside our work towards The Global Goals and our Green Flag status, by focusing on cleaner air and the reduction of pollution. This year, inspired by other young campaigners such as Greta Thunberg and when celebrating 30 years of the UN Convention, Article 24 (The right to the best possible health) was still central to the children’s campaigning along with requests to local and national government for an increase in vaccinations all around the world. It is always so impactful to see the children feeling empowered to make a difference to their world.