Rights Respecting Schools
In July 2019, we were thrilled to achieve our Silver (Rights Aware) status, for the Unicef Rights Respecting Schools award. We are now undertaking our journey towards Gold (Rights Respecting) school. There are many areas of CVCC life where we can concentrate on embedding the Convention on the Rights of the Child; this is both implicitly in the general, everyday approach of staff and students, as well as explicitly in our policies and practice. We anticipate that it will take us a couple of years to travel from being ‘Rights Aware’ to the Gold standard of ‘Rights Respecting’, but we are committed to achieving this goal.
What is a Rights Respecting School?
A Rights Respecting School puts the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (https://www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/un-convention-child-rights/) at the heart of everything we do. This means that we ensure that pupils at Clyst Vale know their rights and as adults, we make decisions with the best interests of the child in the forefront of our minds. We teach students about the importance of becoming Global Citizens and ensure that they learn about world events. Moreover, we take time to teach students about developing their full potential and ensure that they learn about people who don’t have access to their rights. We have always been an inclusive and caring school but this award has helped to frame a lot of the great work that already goes on at Clyst Vale.
Please take a look at Clyst Vale’s ‘We Rise Up’ film here (4 minutes):
Also worth watching is this short film from Unicef, where students talk about the difference that it makes to them being part of the Rights Respecting Schools programme (2 minutes):
What rights are the students focusing on?
There are 54 rights in the convention so we can’t study them all. For the 2019/2020 academic year, we have chosen the following six rights as our focus areas:
- Term 1 – Right to Education – Article 28
- Term 2 – Protection and Preservation of Identity – Article 8
- Term 3 – Life, survival and development- developing your full potential- Article 6
- Term 4 – Access to information from the media – Article 17
- Term 5 – Adequate Standard of Living – Article 27
- Term 6 – Refugee Children – Article 22
What changes have we made at school since becoming a Rights Respecting School?
We have made a number of changes to the school since becoming a RRS.
- We have extended tutor time to ensure that we know our students more and are able to deliver a fuller tutor programme.
- We have introduced thoughts of the fortnight that coincide with our RRS ethos. We have a dedicated Friday programme where we learn all about being a RRS in tutor time.
- We have planned and delivered special assemblies regarding RRS issues.
- We have improved our use of praise and introduced a badge system. For 2019 onwards, praise points are now explicitly awarded against three categories: Respect, Participate, Learn.
- ‘Behaviour points’ are no longer given. Instead, sanctions are applied when a student fails to meet their ‘Respect, Participate, Learn’ lesson expectations.
- We have a school charter (see below) that helps to develop a clear ethos for Clyst Vale.
- We have many brilliant displays across the school to show off the work of our students and to encourage them to think about being part of a RRS.
- We have started a steering group to canvas student voice about our RRS journey.
- We have reintroduced the College Council.
- We have taken part in the World’s Largest Lesson. https://www.globalgoals.org/
- We have taken part in a Youth Parliament vote
- We have canvassed student voice on a number of issues concerning the running of the school and will continue to do so.
- We requested donations from our students and staff, and collected a whole van full of food and basic toiletries to give to refugees in Greece.
CLYST VALE CHARTER
As we continue to embed the RRS ethos, we have several other initiatives taking off:
- This year, we have a number of activities planned in relation to tackling the climate crisis. Firstly, on 20th September, students and staff are encouraged to wear something green to signal their solidarity with and raise awareness of the Global Climate Strike.
- We are doing work around the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, in our quest to become global citizens.
- We will take part in Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ vote on 4th October, which ballots UK students to understand their agenda of top priorities to be taken forward on a national basis.
- We are starting work towards achieving the Eco Schools ‘Green Flag’ status – a global initiative to help schools become more environmentally aware and reduce their environmental impact.
Students standing up for Human Rights in December 2018
The Future of the Award
As with any whole school initiative, this is a work in progress. We are continually reflecting and trying to improve our delivery of the initiative. We are happy with our journey so far and we are confident that it will help to improve the experience of the students at Clyst Vale. All research points to schools improving in a number of areas after taking on the delivery of the award. Have a look at the impact reports produced by Unicef here https://www.unicef.org.uk/rights-respecting-schools/the-rrsa/impact-of-rrsa/
We are committed to this journey at CVCC and we hope you see the benefit of being part of it. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Miss Watt who is coordinating the process.