UNICEF rights respecting schools award scheme

  • Robinson, Carol (CoPI)
  • Sebba, Judy (CoPI)

    Project Details


    Teaching children about their rights can reduce exclusions and bullying, improve teacher-pupil relationships, raise attainment and make for more mature, responsible students.

    UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) helps schools to use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as their values framework.

    This evaluation assessed the impact of the RRSA on the wellbeing and achievement of children and young people in the participating schools and was funded by UNICEF UK through a £68,000 grant from the Department for Education (DfE). Thirty-one schools in England took part in the evaluation; twelve of these were part of a longitudinal study over three years. Findings indicated that the RRSA has had a profound positive effect on the majority of schools involved in the programme. Over 3000 primary and secondary schools across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are now registered for the award.

    The main objective of this evaluation project was to assess the impact of the RRSA on the wellbeing and achievement of children and young people in participating schools. 
    The study looked specifically at the following indicators:
    • attainment • attendance • attitudes to diversity and difference • behaviour • bullying • fixed-term exclusions • pupils' engagement in learning and active participation in decisions in school.

    Key findings

    The evaluation concluded that the RRSA has had a significant and positive influence on school ethos, relationships, inclusivity, understanding of the wider world and the wellbeing of the school community.

    Findings from the evaluation demonstrated that:

    > relationships between pupils, between staff and between staff and pupils had improved
    > behaviour in schools had also improved due to better understanding by pupils of how to be rights respecting, using the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guide
    > across almost all of the schools, pupils made a positive contribution on local and global issues as a result of their increased awareness of the universality of children’s rights and the extent to which these are denied
    > pupils demonstrated positive attitudes towards inclusivity and diversity in society
    pupils actively participated in decision-making in the school community
    > engagement in learning was reported to have improved in the majority of schools.

    UNICEF UK has acted on many of the recommendations of the evaluation, including: clarifying expectations in terms of learning about rights; further development of the RSSA Virtual Learning Environment, including the provision of additional guidance and exemplification of approaches to RRSA; and providing examples of assessment criteria and self-evaluation forms to help schools understand the expectations of RRSA.

    Effective start/end date1/10/0830/06/10


    • United Nations Children's Fund


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