UNICEF recognises UK schools for teaching human rights

Received by e-mail, From: Global HRE List Moderator, Date: 14/07/2011

UNICEF recognises schools in Dorset for teaching human rights, on Dorset ECHO, by Catherine Bolado, 13th July 2011.

DORSET schools are leading the way in teaching pupils about their rights and respecting others. More than 140 schools across Dorset have been highlighted by children’s charity UNICEF for their work teaching students about human rights. The schools are all working towards or have achieved UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting Schools status.

The award is a nationwide scheme aimed at promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It teaches pupils about their rights and encourages them to respect the rights of others. Wool First School was recently given an advanced award as part of the Rights Respecting School scheme. Pupils at the school are now acting as ambassadors for the project by helping more schools to sign up. Wool First School pupil, Emma, aged 9, said: “I had a dream that everyone in the whole universe – even aliens – was part of a rights-respecting community. If everyone believes in it, it really could happen.” 

Dorset County Council is now working with UNICEF UK to develop a programme that places the rights and responsibilities at the heart of its services and local communities. Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services Toni Coombs said: “The energy, enthusiasm and passion at a rights respecting school is wonderful. “Everyone treats each other with dignity and children are able to talk openly to each other about issues, such as bullying, and understand how their behaviour in the classroom or playground affects others.”

She added: “The council’s charter is our commitment to Dorset’s children that we will also put their universal rights at the heart of our services, listen to their views and treat them with dignity and respect.” Six Dorset children’s centres were among the first in the country to receive the Rights Respecting School award and Portland, Bridport and Blandford are looking at ways they can turn their communities into rights respecting towns. Mike Hillary, Dorset County Council Senior Inspector and Co-ordinator for the RRS Award said that he had been impressed by the work the staff and pupils had put into their work becoming rights respecting schools. He said: “I’m incredibly impressed by the commitment of schools to the scheme. Everyone involved from the governors and headteachers to the youngest children has embraced the idea.”
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