Rights Respecting School

Rockwood Academy has been recognised as a rights respecting school by Unicef. At present we have the award at silver level, but we will hopefully progress gold.

Unicef states that the award aims to “create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive” (Click here).

The award uses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as its guide. The UNCRC was ratified by the United Nations in 1989, and it includes 54 articles which together set out the rights of all children (Click here).

Every child has rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status.

The Convention must be understood as a whole: all rights are linked and no right is more important than another. The right to relax and play (article 31) and the right to freedom of expression (article 13) are as important as the right to be safe from violence (article 19) and the right to education (article 28).

“The UNCRC is important because it says people should grow up in peace and harmony, without violence towards them. I’m passionate about article 15, which says every child has the right of freedom of association.  I’m pleased we’re getting the silver award because it shows how much effort we have put in.” Salena, Year 7

At Rockwood, we demonstrate our commitment to the rights by:

  • Teaching and learning about the rights. The UNCRC is made known to students and adults who use this shared understanding to work for improved child well-being, school improvement, global justice and sustainable living.
  • Teaching and learning through rights. Actions and decisions affecting students are rooted, reviewed and resolved through rights. Students and adults collaborate to develop and maintain a school community based on equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation.
  • Teaching and learning for rights. Children are empowered to enjoy and exercise their rights and to promote the rights of others locally and globally.

Rockwood achieves rights respecting school silver award

Unicef has given Rockwood Academy its rights respecting school silver award, recognising everything we do to live by the values of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). There was a rigorous accreditation process, at the end of which Unicef’s accreditor praised Rockwood for the brilliant work we have been doing.

Rockwood is proud to be a rights respecting school. Achieving the award shows that our students are familiar with the articles of the UNCRC. This is hardly surprising! They form part of our School Charter (link). We discuss the articles in assembly and in form time, as well as across all subjects of the curriculum. During his meeting with some of our students, the accreditor from Unicef praised the students for their knowledge of the articles and their heartfelt opinions about them.

To achieve silver, we also needed to show that we live by the UNCRC values. As set out in Article 12 of the UNCRC, a key part of this is listening to students’ views. Our students delighted in telling the accreditor about all the ways they impact on school life, for example through the School Council and as members of the Unicef steering panel. We also make looking after our students’ wellbeing a number one priority, in line with Article 19.

Also, for the silver award we needed to show the accreditor everything we do to promote the UNCRC in the community and globally. In line with Article 22 of the UNCRC, Rockwood has been awarded Welcome Refugee School status, showing we are ready to welcome the dispossessed from around the world into our community. As participants in Echo Eternal and as a UCL Holocaust education quality mark school, we are proud to promote an anti-hate message through genocide education.

“We are delighted to have been given the silver award. It is testament to a lot of hard work from our students and staff. Of course the next step is to get the gold award, and we look forward to starting work on this straight away.”
Ms Darr, Rockwood’s Headteacher.

Ms Hanif, RE teacher, said: “Achieving RRSA silver award is a clear indication of everyone’s dedication, passion and awareness of the CRC at Rockwood Academy. We are excited to embark on the gold award journey where creating the global citizen will be at the heart of everything we do as a school”.

Aneela, Year 8 “I’m really happy we received the silver award because we have worked really hard and I think we deserved it as a school. We have held charity events, for example on Children in Need Day. It was great talking to the accreditor from UNICEF.”

Sana, Year 10 said: “The UN convention is important as it allows children to grow up in a world of peace, tolerance and equality. One article that is very meaningful to me is article 24: the right to health services. My home country, Pakistan, does not have a free healthcare service and I want to change that! Achieving the silver award means so much, as the students involved have worked hard for this and we are one step closer to achieving our goal – becoming a gold-awarded rights respecting school.”