Junior Years receive Rights Respecting Schools Gold Award

The High School of Dundee Junior School has been awarded UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools gold status.

Junior Years receive Rights Respecting Schools Gold Award

The school is the first in Dundee to gain the gold award, which is the highest accolade granted by UNICEF. It demonstrates a school’s commitment to children’s rights at all levels of school life, recognising that it has fully embedded the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into its ethos and curriculum.

The award was made following an accreditation visit in March, after which the assessors issued a report which stated, “It was evident that children’s rights are embedded across the school and underpin every facet of school life.”

The report went on to highlight that strengths of the school included:

• A clear commitment by SLT and staff to drive forward and embed a children’s rights-based approach within the ethos and practice of the school.
• Children who are knowledgeable and articulate about the CRC.
• Children who feel valued at school.
• Opportunities for children to lead through a range of pupil voice groups.
• A continuous cycle of staff learning through CPD and meetings.

To be awarded gold status, schools have to be able to show that the RRSA has had a positive impact on children and young people’s learning and wellbeing and that pupils see themselves as rights respecting global citizens and are advocates for social justice, fairness and children’s rights at home and abroad.

At gold level, children and young people also play an increasingly leading role in driving progress. Teaching and Learning about rights for the whole school community takes place regularly through training, curriculum, assemblies, topics, focus days/weeks, displays etc.

In addition, teaching and learning models rights respecting language and attitudes and strategic decision making involves pupils.

“It was evident that children’s rights are embedded across the school and underpin every facet of school life.”

In the Junior Years, the assessors found evidence of this through a range of initiatives and activities, such as the Pupil Voice group, the Right of the Month project, the creation of class charters for every class, charity work, the awareness of children’s rights across the whole curriculum, the development of a playground charter, and much more.

The School had received the silver award in 2018, and Lisa Carrie, who leads the School’s RRS work, is delighted that the commitment to children’s rights shown by pupils and staff has now been reflected in the award of gold status.

She said, “"Achieving gold status was confirmation that our pupils are knowledgeable about their rights, able to advocate for the rights of those who don’t have a voice and fully aware of the powerful role they have in the High School community and beyond."

Deputy Rector and Head of Junior Years, Julie Rose, said, “My thanks go to Lisa Carrie, the working party and our Pupil voice reps who led our application to RRSA and our education in the CRC. 

“Huge thanks also go to the entire Junior Years community for their participation in embedding this ethos and allowing a rights respecting approach to become second nature in all that we do.”

The Gold accreditation lasts for three years, during which time the School will be required to sustain its approach and maintain its practices before a re-accreditation visit takes place.