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 behaviour, improved academic standards and less bullying.
What does the Award involve?
Schools involved in the Rights Respecting Schools Award work towards the recognition that they have embedded children 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:
Bronze: Rights Committed
Silver: Rights Aware
Gold: Rights Respecting
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.
What impact does it have?
On the school
• RRSA is not an initiative, but instead provides an overarching set of values that improve the climate for learning and within which other initiatives can sit
• A deeper and more cohesive way of working
• Improved relationships with pupils and a reduced hierarchical divide between staff and pupils, due to a common rights-respecting language.
• Improved self esteem and feelings of being valued and listened to
• Increased levels of respect for each other, leading to improved
relationships with other pupils and with staff
• A sense of security as rights-respecting language and behaviour is used
consistently throughout the school
• Improved attainment and attendance, and a reduction in exclusions
• An understanding and respect of religions, cultures, beliefs and abilities
different to their own
• A wider and deeper understanding of the world in which they live.
• Strengthened collaborative working
• Increased consultative approach with other adults and pupils
• A sense of ownership in developing an approach that meets the
needs and aspirations of the school as a whole
• A sense that the whole school is working towards a common goal,
leading to feelings of empowerment for both staff and pupils
• A platform is developed for parental engagement and discussion.