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World Children's Day highlights importance of States-funded schools' efforts to receive Rights Respecting Schools Awards

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Friday 18 November 2022

Sunday (20th November 2022) is World Children's Day, which is an opportunity to highlight the importance of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child and locally the efforts from all States-funded schools to receive a Rights Respecting Schools Award.

The Rights Respecting Schools Award puts children's rights at the heart of schools and is awarded by the UK Committee for UNICEF. The UK Committee uses the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as its guide for the award.

All 19 schools in Guernsey and Alderney have achieved a Rights Respecting School Award (three gold, nine silver and seven bronze). Work continues as part of the Education Strategy to further develop schools' activity in this important area to try and achieve as many Gold Awards as possible.

World Children's Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare. Since 1990, World Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on children's rights.

Dave Stumpf, Head of Inclusion and Services for Schools, said:

'Supporting all of our schools to achieve a silver Rights Respecting Schools Award is one of the many workstreams under the Education Strategy, as part of the Equity, Safety and Inclusivity priority. Our journey to that goal is well underway. It is a fantastic achievement that all of our schools have received an award to this point, with all of them focusing on continuing the journey to higher awards. World Children's Day seems like the perfect opportunity to celebrate our schools' success in this important area; ensure that the rights of children are both respected and well understood across the whole school community.'

While all Guernsey and Alderney schools have achieved this important award, below is a small selection detailing what it means for them and their students.

Les Beaucamps High School

The UNICEF accreditor said the school's student-centred approach resulted in strong engagement from young people and was highly effective. The school achieved a Gold Award after focusing on students not only understanding the importance of their own rights, but the rights of others and how our young people are global citizens that can make a difference in the world.

Amherst Primary School

The school has achieved its Silver Award and is progressing towards Gold. Students and parents were recently asked to help decide the school's values moving forwards. The six values chosen; Respect, Kindness, Honesty, Open-mindedness, Confidence and Resilience clearly reflect the articles of the UNCRC and is a testament to the children's awareness and understanding of the important work in this area.

La Mare de Carteret Primary School

The school achieved its Silver Award last year and is currently on its journey to Gold. The school's Rights Respecting Steering Group, called 'The Seen and Heard Group', was fundamental to its success as they were the driving force in teaching the school about their rights. An action plan has been created and which the school is working through alongside students, with more being encouraged to join the Seen and Heard Group so that a greater number of children are represented. 

Les Voies School

The school has embedded the UNICEF ethos into its language and students recognise themselves as right's holders. The UNCRC articles are a regular agenda item in junior leadership meetings and feedback is shared by reps each week through tutor time activities. The school is currently working towards its Gold Award and staff, working alongside junior leadership reps, are supporting students to further recognise themselves as global citizens by raising awareness of global issues.

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