The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC, is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history. All UN member states except for the United States have ratified the Convention. The Convention came into force in the UK in 1992.
The Convention has 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights.Every child has rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status.
Four articles are known as the “General Principles” and they help to interpret all the other articles and play a fundamental role in realising all the rights in the Convention for all children. They are:
- Non-discrimination (article 2)
- Best interest of the child (article 3)
- Right to life survival and development (article 6)
- Right to be heard (article 12)
Opportunities to embed children’s rights into Schools
Schools can play a significant role in supporting children to learn about their rights and to promote and develop rights respecting thinking and being.Unicef partner with Schools to offer a Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA). This award enables schools in the UK to “create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive”. The RRSA embeds these values in daily school life to give children “the best chance to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible, active citizens”
Several Schools in Cornwall have achieved Bronze, Silver or Gold awards and have seen and felt significant changes in their school environment.
“RRSA has completely changed the ethos of our schools. Our behaviour policy is based on the Rights and they underpin everything we do.”The following schools are happy to be contacted to share their experience of becoming a RRS and offer advice and guidance where requested.
School: Werrington Primary and North Petherwin Primary
Contact: Miss Jo-Anne Callow, Executive Headteacher, An Daras Multi Academy Trust
School: Trewirgie Junior School
Contact: Jane Sargent, Headteacher,