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St John the Baptist first Belfast school to win UN award

St John the Baptist first Belfast school to win UN award

St John the Baptist PS has become the first school in the BELB area to be awarded the United Nations Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA).

The RRSA recognises schools that have put the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of their planning, policies, practice and ethos. It is being implemented across all formal education settings – Early Years, Primary, Post-Primary, and Special Needs.

“A rights-respecting school not only teaches about child rights but also builds respect and rights into all its relationships between teachers and pupils, teachers and other adults and between the pupils themselves,” said Jaclyn O’Neill, RRSA Coordinator at St John the Baptist.

“We took a whole school approach to implementing the award, whether it was through activities during anti-bullying week and exploring the right to a voice, through the Trócaire campaign and the right to shelter, the children really took on board the concept from P1 to P7.

“Each class devised a class charter based on rights and respects. These were used as the basis of classroom management, so instead of having ‘dos and don’ts’ we had rights and respects.

“Corridor and lunch time charters then followed. The children had a meeting with the lunchtime supervisors to explain how the charter worked. This meant that even in the dinner hall and playground the children were using articles from the UNCRC to reflect upon their behaviour.”

The scheme is administered in the city by the Belfast Education and Library Board.

“I would like to congratulate St John the Baptist on achieving the Rights Respecting School Award,” said Carol Weatherall, BELB School Improvement Advisory Officer.

“Working towards the Rights Respecting School Award is a fantastic way of supporting schools who want to inspire their children and young people to make informed choices and become confident, active citizens.”