Willows High School becomes first of Cardiff’s secondary schools to receive prestigious UNICEF UK Award

Willows High School becomes first of Cardiff’s secondary schools to receive prestigious UNICEF UK Award

Willows High School has been awarded the Silver Rights Respecting School Award(RRSA) bythe UK Committee for UNICEF,for its commitment to promoting and realising children’s rights and encouraging adults, children and young people to respect the rights of others in school.

The award recognises those schools that make excellent progress towards embedding the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into its ethos, curriculum and at the heart of a school’s planning, policies and practice. A Rights Respecting School is a community where children’s rights are learned, taught, practised, respected, protected and promoted.

In its report, UNICEF UK notedthat Willows High School pupils had a very good understanding of rights and were able to list a selection of articles and link them to life experiences, understanding that rights were not only universal and unconditional, but indivisible, inalienable and inherent.

Morehighlights from the report include;

  • Staff and pupils reported that relationships across the school are positive and founded on dignity and a mutual respect and that a positive culture is reinforced with regards to kindness, aspirations and resilience. These are taught through assemblies, daily routines and a deliberate effort by staff and pupils to model positive examples to the Willows community.
  • The school places children’s social and emotional wellbeing high on its agenda and pupils discussed the positive impact that Wellbeing Officers in the school have. Pupils are free to talk about their mental health and if they are struggling with anything.
  • Pupils felt confident that they had a voice in school, and that their views are taken seriously. They discussed how the Pupil Leadership group has been created.
  • Parents are kept informed via the school newsletter and social media and a Family and Community Engagement officer assists the school and the community develop strong relationships.

Reflecting on the achievement, Headteacher Chris Norman said: “We are so proud to be one of the few secondary schools in Wales to have received this award. It comes after a lot of work from staff, pupils and Governors led by our RRSA coordinator Joe Sage to ensure that we are doing everything possible to make our school a safe and happy environment for all.”

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “This award recognises those schools who demonstrate their commitment to ensuring children’s rights are embedded in daily school life as well as at the heart of the wider school community.

“I am delighted that Willows High School has achieved silver, pathing the way for other secondary schools to follow and join the 83 Cardiff primary’s that have become Rights Respecting Schools.

“We are moving significantly closer to realising Cardiff’s ambition of becoming an official UNICEF UK Child Friendly City, assisted by the invaluable support from our schools. The RRSA programme helps to give children the best chance to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible active citizens who will go on to contribute to the rights respecting culture that we aim to accomplish.”

UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights.

TheUNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schoolsinitiative is aimed at schools across the UK, including those in an early years setting.

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