Hermitage Primary School in Helensburgh is the first school in Argyll and Bute to be awarded Gold by Unicef UK’s Rights Respecting School programme.
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights. The Rights Respecting Schools Award is granted to schools that show commitment to promoting and realising children’s rights and encouraging adults, children and young people to respect the rights of others in school.
Gold is the highest accolade given by Unicef UK and shows a deep and thorough commitment to children’s rights at all levels of school life. More than 500 schools across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have received Gold.
The school received its Silver certificate in April 2018 and was awarded the Gold certificate at an event in the school on World Children’s Day, Friday 20 November 2020.
Children wore yellow and gold to school that day to celebrate receiving their prestigious award and took part in a number of activities focussing on Climate Change. Senior pupils took part in Unicef UK’s Outright Campaign, writing to local and national leaders and the COP26 President on action they think should be taken to combat the issue.
They held a special virtual Assembly, which was beamed into all the classrooms. Children had a special ‘clap’ which echoed around the school to congratulate one another and created gold decorations to brighten the School Hall over the coming festive period.
Elspeth Davis, Headteacher of Hermitage Primary said: “We are incredibly proud to be the first recipient of this award from Unicef UK in Argyll and Bute. It marks an enormous effort on the part of our whole school community – pupils, staff and parents in embedding rights education in all we do.
“Children’s rights are at the heart of our school and this strength of the partnership we build together permeates through all aspects of our work. Pupils are encouraged to be respectful of themselves, each other, the community we live in and the world we take care of. This is reflected in the relationships, behaviour and attitudes of our pupils and raises the quality of our school. I often refer to rights as the ‘golden thread’ which connects everything and this is now recognized in the Gold Award. I’d like to thank pupils and staff, and in particular, Mrs Louise Grafton, our RRS School Lead. Getting our Gold is not the end of our journey, which will only continue and just keep getting stronger!”
Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, Policy Lead for Education, said: “Congratulations to all the pupils and staff at Hermitage Primary for all their hard work. We’re living in times where respect, kindness and a sense of community have never been more important.
“I am extremely proud of the work the school has undertaken to achieve this award and very much value the approach. I look forward to other schools across the locality and the wider council following in their footsteps.
“When I look at these young people, I feel a sense of pride and also a sense that Argyll and Bute is in safe hands in the future.”
The Award recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 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.
For further details about Unicef UK and RRSA, please contact:
Samantha Bradey, Unicef UK Communications and Resources Officer +44 (0)20 7375 6119 SamanthaB@unicef.org.uk
Notes for editors:
*About the Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools Award
Unicef works with schools in the UK to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive. Our Rights Respecting Schools Award embeds these values in daily school life and gives children the best chance to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible, active citizens.
Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as our guide, we are working with more UK schools than almost any other organisation. 1.6 million children in the UK go to a Rights Respecting School and more than 4,500 schools up and down the country are working towards the Award.
The Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools initiative is aimed at schools across the UK, including those in an early years setting. This year the programme has received additional support from The People’s Postcode Lottery. This vital funding is helping Unicef UK continue its work with over 4500 primary schools, secondary schools, schools for children and young people with special educational needs and pupil referral units across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Schools have reported a positive impact on pupil behaviour, relationships and well-being by enhancing pupil’s self-esteem, leading to less truancy and bullying, better learning and improved academic standards.
About Hermitage Primary School
We are the largest Primary School within Argyll and Bute with around 375 pupils, serving the busy town of Helensburgh.
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk.