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School wins gold award for putting children’s rights at heart of work

Shotton Hall Primary School pupils with their UNICEF banner after achiving Gold Status in its Rights Respecting Schools Award.
Shotton Hall Primary School pupils with their UNICEF banner after achiving Gold Status in its Rights Respecting Schools Award.

A school is celebrating after achieving the highest award available from an international organisation for promoting children’s rights.

Shotton Hall Primary School in Peterlee is delighted at having achieved Unicef Gold status in its Rights Respecting Schools Award.

The initiative run by Unicef UK encourages schools to place the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of its ethos and curriculum.

Shotton Hall’s gold status is the culmination of three years’ of hard work.

Unicef assessors also visited Shotton Hall in the summer for a rigorous assessment when they spoke to pupils to find out how the initiative is being put into practice.

Headteacher Anita Boyd said: “This is a wonderful achievement for our school community.

“Our children spoke to the assessors and told them all about our school, we were very proud of them all.

“You will soon see our new banner on the school fence and we are delighted to be considered a model school in the area for RRS. Well done everyone!”

In Rights Respecting Schools children’s rights are promoted and realised.

The award also takes into account how adults and children work together to achieving the status.

Shotton Hall has forged very strong links with members of its local community including police officers, firefighters and shop workers.

They have partnered with a local church to raise money to build a toilet block in a foreign country and are collecting old shoes to donate to Clarks as part of another Unicef scheme.

Every pupil is able to voice and share opinions through ‘pupil voice’ groups. The school says the initiative, led by Mrs Habicht, was a strong team effort also involving parents and governors with everyone committed to the idea that children who understand their rights have greater respect for themselves and for each other.

Carole Barclay, chair of governors added: “During our journey towards this, the highest level of Rights Respecting Schools award, the whole school community has joined together to promote the values of respect, dignity and non-discrimination to boost our pupils’ self-esteem and well-being.

“We firmly believe in the concept that a child who understands their rights also understands how they and others should be treated and consequently their sense of self-worth is strengthened.

“This award is a fabulous accolade and so very well deserved by everyone.”