Childwall Sports and Science Academy

Learning without limits

We are officially a UNICEF Rights Respecting School!

We have been through a long process, but we have now been awarded the UNICEF Rights Respecting School status! Here's what they said: 

e Assessment Judgement is that Childwall Sports and Science Academy has met the standard for the Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools Award at Level 1

Evidence of Good Practice
The following good practice evident at the assessment contributes to the school’s success at Level 1.

Standard A:
Rights-respecting values underpin leadership and management

  • The headteacher and the school’s wider leadership are strongly committed to the core values of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and explain how these are at the heart of the school’s mission and vision. It was explained that a conscious choice was made to strive for this accreditation as it ‘relates to the whole school, to every pupil… this is the right way to go.’ There is a determination to build the whole school culture around a rights based approach. The headteacher explained their commitment to inclusion and the vision that, by creating a safe environment in which young people feel engaged, valued and empowered, positive outcomes including results and progress will follow.
  • Staff have been included in training to embed the CRC in the school and there is a clear sense  that   rights   based   language   is   becoming   established   in   many   areas.

Documentation such as the SMSC and PSHE policies and the school improvement plan refer to the Convention.

  • The school’s leaders explained that the impact of their Rights Respecting approach is showing in a number of ways, such as improving attendance year on year and more positive attitudes to learning which is linked to improving progress and achievement in many  areas.  One  member  of  staff  said  that  the  Rights  Respecting  work  has strengthened and empowered many of the pupils…it’s given them a new language to speak about themselves and their world.’

Standard B:
The whole school community learns about the CRC

  • The vast majority of the young people and adults spoken with demonstrated a good knowledge of a number of the rights in the Convention and had a clear understanding that rights are universal and unconditional. The students had clear views about the importance of knowing and understanding your rights with comments such as ‘Without knowing all of our rights we would not have the freedom to be who we want to be.’ Another pupil added ‘your rights help you to be in control of your own life; without them you might be controlled by others.’
  • The School has redesigned its programme of PSHE/SMSC learning to incorporate a wide range of Articles form the Convention and feedback from both students and staff has been extremely positive about this development. Many other curriculum areas are incorporating rights to support existing learning, for example in science learning about reproduction and sexual health has been linked to the right to protection and freedom from sexual exploitation. Creative arts projects have celebrated diversity and the rights to nationality and culture whilst in English, numerous examples were shared of rights language being used to enhance understanding of different texts. Pupils mentioned that rights were referred to in history when learning about the suffragette movement and they often come up in RE.’
  • The Convention  is  becoming  visible  around  the  school  with  a  range  of  displays highlighting particular Articles. Parents and the wider community are learning about the RRSA work of the school through newsletters and through the students speaking about their rights in their home and family settings. ‘My older brother was surprised to hear me talk about rights… he didn’t know anything about them.’

Standard C:
The school has a rights-respecting ethos

  • Rights based charters, with articles chosen by the students at the start of the year, are being established across the school. Some students have a sense of ownership of their charters and can see the value of having regular reminders of their rights. One student explained that ‘I picture the rights like the bricks in a wall; they all come to together to protect you – like building a house.’
  • The vast majority of young people interviewed said they felt very safe and secure at school; they understand this to be their right. There is an appreciation that the Convention helps them to stay safe and healthy. They said that knowing about their rights helps the way in which they get along with each other in school ‘Knowing the rights makes you think about what you are saying…you have to realise that there are boundaries as other people have rights too.’ A strong sense of mutual respect was exemplified in one young man’s comment that, ‘Everyone’s welcomed in here wherever you are from. There’s interest and curiosity [about people’s backgrounds] but we all get along really well.’
  • The students spoke very positively about how they are supported in the resolution of disagreements or conflicts; ‘The teachers always listen and don’t take sides…They help you to look at both sides of a situation.’ Another added that ‘…anyone can make a mistake. People try to be fair and not judge you.’

Standard D:
Children are empowered to become active citizens and learners

  • The right of young people to have a say in all matters that affect them is an important feature of this school. The word ‘empowerment’ was used repeatedly by adults and students during the visit. Recent engagement with student voice includes the introduction of Guided Choices evenings to replace the traditional ‘Options’ and the decision to allow Wi-Fi access for student’s phones in key areas of the site. As one pupil said ‘This really shows that changes do actually happen.’ Staff are very positive about the greater pupil involvement and participation noting that it  is ‘starting to show benefits with better engagement in the classroom.’
  • The young people spoke proudly about actions they have taken to support the rights of others locally and globally. Their comments included the following: ‘Rights might help you think more and do something for people rights around the world.’  ‘We all should play a part in society; we need to be thinking of others.’ ‘It’s like a chain that connects everyone…we shouldn’t just think about ourselves…we could help to make it better.’
  • A very powerful example of the students at this school being effective as campaigners and advocates for rights has been their successful anti-discrimination work with Stonewall which has not only raised awareness but changed attitudes and the narrative around issues of sexual identity and orientation across the school community.
  • It is evident that the whole school community has embraced the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and that the young people at Childwall are becoming empowered as Rights Respecting global citizens. One young person summed this up saying ‘The rights piece it all together and they give you the strength to sort things out.’