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Jersey schools offered support to become ‘Rights Respecting’

10 July 2018

All primary and secondary schools in Jersey are to be offered support to become ‘Rights Respecting Schools’.

Jersey’s Children’s Commissioner, Deborah McMillan has announced today that she is working with UNICEF to provide the opportunity for all schools in Jersey to become a ‘Rights Respecting School’.

The UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) puts children’s rights at the heart of schools. UNICEF works with schools to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive. The Award embeds these values in daily school life and gives children the best chance to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible, active citizens.

The Children’s Commissioner will offer all primary and secondary schools in Jersey the opportunity to achieve this award, providing support from Victoria Bisson who is the on-Island UNICEF trained Rights Respecting Schools Officer.  The ambition is that all pupils in Jersey know that they have rights, what those rights are, and what to do when their rights are not upheld.

Mrs McMillan said: “I am very excited to be able to offer schools in Jersey this opportunity. Through my recent Island-wide consultation, children and young people have told me that some of the main issues they are facing are linked to bullying and emotional and mental health. Evaluation of the RRSA has shown that when schools embed children’s rights into the heart of what they do, these are some of the main areas of improvement. The benefits of the RRSA aren’t just felt by pupils, but by the wider school community as a whole. By supporting all schools in Jersey to go through this programme, there is the scope for this to have a profound impact on our island’s children.”

Grouville is the first school in Jersey to apply for the Gold (the final stage) award and will be going through their accreditation for this in December of this year.

Nichola Turner, headteacher at Grouville School, said: “Grouville School is very proud to be a UNICEF Rights Respecting School. We completed Level 1 in 2014 and are now working towards achieving Gold (Level 2) in December 2018. Our children are empowered to have a good understanding of their rights and this is reflected in the ethos of our school. Pupil Voice is very important at Grouville and our children play a lead role in advocating their voice and impacting on change.”

Grouville School Council added: "Grouville School helps children to become the best they can be. We care about the rights of every child and we are a Unicef Rights Respecting School. We are very proud to say that we are working towards our Gold level! We strongly believe that children should have a voice (Article 12) and we promote this through our School Council, Eco Team and our Rights Respecting Ambassadors.

“Our school community is amazing. We are very caring towards each other and we make sure that everyone feels included. We raise money for various charities to help others and also to make our school community aware of how we can help people in need."

Grouville School’s Rights Respecting ambassadors meet regularly to discuss and action how they can ensure the school community understands the importance of children's rights.

Mrs Turner added: “Our Rights Respecting journey has enabled us be involved in all sorts of incredible opportunities which have enriched learning. From hosting Enable Jersey tea parties, to welcoming children from Mifumi School, fundraising for an earthquake-stricken village in Nepal, working alongside the amazing Karen Painter from the Red Cross to learning about the Equality Act with 'No Outsiders'. Our children are passionate about making a difference, especially for children who are not as fortunate as them.

"Spreading the word about Global Citizenship has also been key and recently, our children shared the message of 'Think Globally, Act Locally' with our school community during our Celebrations Afternoon. Each year group raised awareness about a different cause or charity. From collecting clothes for Syrian refugees, 'Saying No to Plastic' to raising money to adopt animals at Jersey Zoo, the children used the power of their voice and their actions to impact on change.”

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