As the United Nations celebrates 30 years of its Convention on the Rights of the Child, Birmingham City Council is highlighting its schools’ successes in the Unicef Rights Respecting Schools programme
Virtually half (251) of all schools across the city, from nursery through to secondary, are embedding children’s rights in daily school life through the Unicef Rights Respecting School award. Of these, 88 have reached bronze standard, 86 silver, 13 gold and 64 are starting their journey having registered with the programme.
Birmingham nursery schools have been instrumental in promoting the case for nursery schools nationally to be able to apply for the gold – full Rights Respecting – award. Up until 2018 nursery schools could only achieve up to the silver stage. Goodway nursery became the first nursery school in Birmingham and the second within the whole of the UK to achieve the Gold Award in July 2018. Other nurseries within Birmingham have already registered their intent to apply for the Gold Award in 2020.
Schools promote knowledge and understanding of the Convention throughout the school community so children and young people understand their rights and the rights of others and become active citizens within their community.
Unicef says that Birmingham “continues to be one of the leading local authorities in England, working with Unicef UK to promote and realise the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in educational settings”.
Dr Tim O’Neill, director of education and skills at Birmingham City Council, said: “These children and schools are amazing. Human rights are fundamental and this includes children’s rights so it is wonderful to see this programme flourish across the city, supported by the council. These youngsters are so keen to help others learn about children’s rights and why they are so important. Birmingham is a national leader in this area, it is fantastic to see so many schools getting involved and we will continue to support every school that wants to take part.”
For the last three years Birmingham children have come together for a celebration to show what they have learned, via drama, dance and song. Children have performed a signed dance celebrating their school’s diversity, a drama based around the right to clean water and led an initiative to meet refugee children in the city.