This prestigious award, from leading children’s organisation UNICEF UK, recognises a school’s achievement in putting the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of the school’s planning, policies, practice and ethos.
The rights in the UNCRC are based on what a child needs to survive, participate and fulfil their potential and they apply equally to every child, regardless of where they are from.
In May this year Wales became the first country in the UK, and one of only a few countries in the world, to enshrine the convention into domestic law with the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011.
This placed a duty on Welsh ministers to consider the rights of children in all the decisions they make about new legislation, policies and changes to existing policy.
The Welsh Government has invested in information, advice and advocacy services to make sure children are protected, able to participate fully in society and able to receive the support they need when they need it.
This includes Meic, the confidential, free, bilingual children and young people's advocacy and advice helpline, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is launching the refreshed website today and recently received an extra £100,000 to ensure the demands for the service continue to be met.
Deputy Minister said:
“Millions of children around the world are denied fundamental rights that we take for granted. A lot of work is being done to back up our belief that every child in Wales should be entitled to a good start in life and the best possible chances to grow up free from poverty and harm.
“Children must have services like schools and activities and places to play outside school, and they must be listened to when they're not happy with the choices that are made on their behalf.
“We also believe strongly in the importance of play in children's lives and the benefits it gives to health, happiness and wellbeing. Wales is again taking the lead by legislating for play opportunities for children.”
Anita Tiessen, UNICEF UK’s Deputy Executive Director, added:
“We are starting to see how children’s lives can be improved in Wales when children’s rights are put at the heart of policy and practice, including giving children greater access to information through Meic or helping children to learn about their rights and responsibilities through UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting School Award.
“We applaud the Welsh Government for taking steps to properly implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child and look forward to working together further in the future to make sure the impact of the incorporation is felt by all children and their wider communities.”