UNICEF Rights Respect

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.

What’s more, our bespoke resources help teachers to talk to children of all ages about the big issues facing the world today, from the refugee crisis to climate change.

There are three stages to the Rights Respecting Schools Award. Its transformative and rigorous approach means the journey to the highest stage can take up to four years.

Together young people and the school community learn about children’s rights, putting them into practice every day. The Award is not just about what children do but also, importantly, what adults do. In Rights Respecting Schools children’s rights are promoted and realised, adults and children work towards this goal together.

There are four key areas of impact for children at a Rights Respecting school; wellbeing, participation, relationships and self-esteem.

The difference that a Rights Respecting School makes goes beyond the school gates, making a positive impact on the whole community.

  • Children are healthier and happier
  • Children feel safe
  • Children have better relationships
  • Children become active and involved in school life and the wider world

More than 5,000 schools across the UK are currently involved in the Rights Respecting Schools Award, and of those over 2,000 schools have been granted a Silver: Rights Aware and a Gold: Rights Respecting accreditation by UNICEF UK since 2006.

These include primary schools, secondary schools, nursery schools, further education, schools for children with special needs and pupil referrals units in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Our community is growing day-by-day and we are now reaching over 1.7 million children and young people in the UK. Find out about how to get started with your journey and join the thousands of schools working to put children’s rights at the heart of what they do.

Since the initiative started in 2006, we have granted thousands of schools with Silver: Rights Aware and a Gold: Rights Respecting accreditations. Here are the current numbers as of January 2019:

Rights Respecting Awarded Schools

The Silver: Rights Aware accreditation is granted to schools that show good progress towards embedding child rights in their school.

The Gold: Rights Respecting accreditation, the highest stage of the RRSA, is given to schools that have fully embedded the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in their practice and ethos. The Award is granted by UNICEF UK following a thorough accreditation process.

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