Using the Children’s Commissioners Ambassador Scheme to promote children’s rights
To promote children’s rights, in particular awareness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and pupil participation this school has embedded the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Ambassador’s Scheme into its whole-school PSE programme. Each year, two Year 6 learners, one boy and one girl, are elected by their peers to be Ambassadors. Their role is to:
- provide information about the role of the Children’s Commissioner to their peers, teachers, parents and carers
- to pass views, concerns, and ideas from their peers to the Children’s Commissioner's team.
The ambassadors take on a wide range of responsibilities. They:
- prepare and deliver assembly presentations about the UNCRC and the role of the Children’s Commissioner
- work as peer educators to develop materials about children’s rights in PSE lessons which are displayed around the school
- sit on the school council
- represent the views of their peers at governing body meetings.
They also initiate peer-led projects in school. For example, following a consultation by the school council, the Ambassadors decided to do some research about bullying. Using a ‘bully box’ they asked other learners to share their thoughts and concerns about bullying. After finding out what their peers thought, the next step was to raise awareness about bullying. A whole-school assembly was developed by the Ambassadors with help from their peers. They acted out a drama that highlighted different types of bullying, how it made young people feel and how they could help themselves. Finally to help everyone understand about their rights, they ran a whole-school competition, where learners made posters about a particular right they thought was important to them.
The school has received much valued training, resources and support from The Children’s Commissioner’s Office. They have also established a worthwhile link with the local Youth Forum.
Links with the PSE framework
Through the Ambassador’s Scheme learners are given opportunities to develop their communication skills and to work with others. Specifically they:
- form personal opinions and make informed decisions
- listen carefully, question and respond to others
- express their views and ideas confidently through a range of appropriate methods
- contribute to class discussions and take part in debates
- create and present information and ideas
- work cooperatively to solve problems
- participate in school life.
This case study addresses the Active citizenship theme. Learners are given opportunities to understand:
- their rights e.g. the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and responsibilities
- the importance of democratic decision-making.
The main benefits have been that learners:
- have a greater understanding of their rights
- are more directly involved in decision making within the school
- have more opportunities to take responsibility and participate in school life.
Specifically, the ambassadors develop important practical skills and gain a huge boost to their self esteem. They are respected by their peers and viewed as positive role models. Younger children aspire to become an Ambassador when they enter Year 6. The Ambassadors receive recognition for their commitment by receiving school merit certificates and letters of commendation from the Children’s Commissioner.