UNICEF Rights Respecting School

We are very proud to be a Gold Rights Respecting School. 

You can read our full report hereGold logo website

UNICEF Rights of the Child


What is a Rights Respecting School?

The Rights Respecting Schools Award is a Unicef UK programme that aims put children’s rights at the heart of schools in the UK. Unicef UK work with thousands of schools across the country to embed children’s rights in their ethos and culture to improve well-being and develop every child’s talents and abilities to their full potential. Schools work with Unicef UK on a journey to become fully Rights Respecting. The Award recognises a school's achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC or UNCRC) into practice within the school and beyond.




What does it involve?

The Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) focuses on children’s rights in schools and takes a whole-school approach to child rights and human rights education. Child Rights Education (CRE) can be defined as learning about rights, learning through rights and learning for rights within an overall context of education as a right. It aims to build the capacity of children as rights-holders to claim their rights, and the capacity of adults as duty-bearers to fulfil their obligations. Child rights education helps adults and children to work together, providing the space and encouragement for the meaningful participation and sustained civic engagement of children.


Why are we involved?

At Topcliffe Primary School, our ethos has developed along the basis of our shared school HARRI values of Healthy, Aspirational, Resilient, Respectful and Independent. The fundamental principles of the RRSA allow us to further enhance and develop this ethos and gives us a framework through which to further empower and develop our children to recognise their rights and responsibilities as they journey through their education. The Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) has a profound impact on children and young people, and the school as a whole. When the principles and values of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) are introduced and reinforced throughout school life, children and the wider school community benefit. As schools implement the RRSA standards, they enable children and young people to make informed decisions and to grow into confident, active and empowered citizens. All of the schools in the Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust are involved in the Rights Respecting Schools Award with the intention that every school will achieve Gold Status. Topcliffe was the first Primary school in the trust to achieve Gold in the summer of 2021.


What are the main areas of impact we have seen?

  • Improved self-esteem and well-being.
  • Improved relationships and behaviour (reductions in bullying and exclusions and improved attendance).
  • Improved engagement in learning.
  • Positive attitudes towards diversity in society and the reduction of prejudice.
  • Children’s enhanced moral understanding.
  • Children’s support for global justice.

What does it mean to be a Rights Respecting School?

Rights Respecting Schools is an award by the charity UNICEF. The award is for schools that are working towards children’s rights becoming an embedded part of their school ethos. It teaches children about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and enables them to be Rights Respecting Global Citizens and advocates for fairness and social justice in our local community, our country and across the globe.

A rights-respecting school is a community where children’s rights are learned, taught, practised, respected, protected and promoted. Young people and the school community learn about children’s rights by putting them into practice every day.

We feel it is important that when children learn about their rights it is important that deeper connections are also made in their understanding about the nature of rights so they are taught the ABCDE of their rights.


What does RRSA look like in Topcliffe and how are the levels of the award different?

Achieving Bronze: Rights Committed means there is evidence that:

  • We have introduced the RRSA Three Strands into our school community.
  • The school’s senior leadership team (SLT) understands what is involved in the Award and is committed to embarking on the UNICEF UK Rights Respecting journey.
  • The right foundations are in place for our school’s journey to the second stage of the Award, .

Achieving Silver: Rights Aware means there is evidence that:

  • Our school is explicitly embedding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in its policy, practice and culture.
  • We are promoting knowledge and understanding of the Convention throughout our school community.
  • We are putting into action and developing the plans outlined on our Action Plan for Silver, which we submitted to achieve Bronze: Rights Committed.
  • We are beginning to see the positive impact of these actions on children and young people, staff, and on the school’s ethos, practice and environment.
  • Children and young people are beginning to see themselves as rights respecting global citizens and advocates for fairness and children’s rights, both locally and globally.

Achieving Gold: Rights Respecting means there is evidence that:

  • Our school has explicitly adopted a child rights approach based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and has embedded it in school policy, practice and culture.
  • Children, young people and adults in our school have a thorough understanding of child rights, and rights respecting attitudes and language are embedded across the school.
  • RRSA has had a positive impact on children and young people’s learning and wellbeing.
  • Students see themselves as rights respecting global citizens and are advocates for social justice, fairness and children’s rights at home and abroad.

Children and young people also play an increasingly leading role in driving progress. At Gold: Rights Respecting, we are aiming to intensify and broaden:

  1. Teaching and Learning about rights: for the whole school community through training, curriculum, assemblies, topics, focus days/weeks, displays.
  2. Teaching and Learning through rights: by modelling rights respecting language and attitudes and making strategic decisions that involve students.
  3. Being ambassadors for the rights of others: developing as rights respecting citizens


What does RRSA look like in our school?

We gained our recognition of commitment at Bronze level in July 2018, gained Silver Rights Aware accreditation in June 2019 and achieved Gold Rights Respecting in June 2021. We are now working on sustaining Gold and will have our re-accreditation assessment in May 2024.

You can find out more about Rights in the Teaching and Learning Toolkit here: Teaching and Learning Toolbox - Rights Respecting Schools Award (unicef.org.uk)

What is the pupils' role in the award?

Over the year, our Rights Respecting Ambassadors, (known as our Ambassa“doers” as they are actively “doing” Rights Respecting across the school!) have displayed their rights in appropriate places around the school to help to develop their understanding of what the articles mean. They are in charge (with the support of their class teacher) of ensuring that their classroom environment supports the different Rights. In essence, their role is to ensure that the whole school is aware of the Rights Respecting Schools Award, to provide a link between the children, all staff members, the Governors and the wider community and to plan and deliver events to help our children become Rights Respecting Global Citizens.

Our next step is to work as committees, linking with the other student groups like School Council, Eco Club, Sports Council and Head boy and Girl. We aim to have three teams that each run a different working group around school:

  • Well being
  • Local and global Eco projects
  • Learning and play

We will inform you through the school newsletter as this develops.


What is a class charter?

Every class in school has discussed, agreed on and designed their own class charters. These consist of three or four articles that the whole class agree to focus on and incorporate into their day to day lives. The children have discussed what both the adults (Duty Bearers) and the children (Rights holders) have to do to ensure the rights are met and have included these on their charters. The Ambassa"doers" have also agreed the playground and dinner hall charters.


How do the children learn about the rights of the child?

Through the weekly class assembly the teacher introduces the Article of the week where the children have the opportunity to discuss and share this articles and do related activities. The children really enjoy these assemblies as they get the chance to discuss and explore new articles in relation to their life and see how the convention is followed in countries around the world. The teachers also actively plan lessons that are linked to the articles.

The Ambassa“doers” have a regular slot in their class timetable to meet together with Mrs Neal and then report back to their class from their weekly meetings. They are also in charge of ensuring the Right’s Respecting Article of the week class book is up to date.


How can parents and carers help their child to know their rights?

  • Spend time talking about the articles at home. https://www.unicef.org/rightsite/files/uncrcchilldfriendlylanguage.pdf
  • Look at the children’s (Newsround), local and worldwide news. These will often link with rights learning. 
  • Talk about and work together on the ‘Article of the week’ family task that is on the school newsletter each week.
  • Discuss learning about rights and encourage pupils to relate rights to current issues.
  • Join in with local charity events and school charity days.
  • Find out about global issues and the sustainable development mission (By 2030). Talk about how these link to the 17 Global Goals. https://www.globalgoals.org/
  • Take action for positive change in their local community e.g. litter pick, recycle; plastic, metal, clothing, leafleting to raise awareness.
  • Give an hour of your time to charity e.g. the homeless, elderly, a hospice.
  • Encourage your child to take action for positive change in their local and global community. E.g. clear the plastics from our seas and oceans.
  • Get involved to make a difference. E.g. Woodland trust.org.uk100k-plant a tree to save the world.


Please support us on our continued RRSA journey!


Mrs Neal, Ambassadoers and the children of Topcliffe Primary.

Family Tasks

Each week Mrs Neal and the Ambassadoers set a family task in the newsletter for children and families to speak about at home. Here are some example family tasks: