Local schools receive top UNICEF Award
Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and Integrated College have been awarded a UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award. Paul Clark, Northern Ireland UNICEF Ambassador, and Patricia Lewsley, the Northern IrelandCommissioner for Children and Young People, presented the schools with their prestigious awards at the Antrim Board Centre, NEELB, on Wednesday 13th June.
The UNICEF ‘Rights Respecting School’ (RRS) initiative which puts the teaching of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of a school’s ethos is currently being piloted by 20 primary schools and one secondary school in Northern Ireland (NI). These schools are finding that working towards becoming an RRS gives them a coherent approach to meeting and ‘joining up’ other curriculum objectives.
The Award is open for all schools: nursery, primary, secondary and special.
For a school to receive the RRS Award, they must show evidence that they have reached the required standard in each of four aspects:
1. Knowledge and understanding of the UNCRC amongst the school community and its relevance to the school ethos and curriculum.
2. Teaching and learning styles and methods commensurate with knowledge and understanding of children’s rights.
3. Pupils actively participating in decision making throughout the school.
4. Committed leadership to building a rights-based school ethos through strategic direction and appropriate professional development.
Dr Anne Murray, Principal of Oakgrove Integrated Primary School said “Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and Nursery School were delighted to be the first school in Northern Ireland to achieve Level 2 in the UNICEF Rights Respecting School initiative. We have been working on the award for three years with the help and support of Geraldine O’Kane, UNICEF Northern Ireland Education Officer, and the entire school has found it an extremely valuable process to go through the RRS Assessment. It allows us to look at what we do and ensure that children are always at the heart of this, and we are delighted this has been recognised.”
Ms Jill Markham, Principal of Oakgrove Integrated College added “We are extremely proud of an award which shows we put our children first. OakgroveIntegratedCollegehas been a champion of Rights and Respect. We are over the moon that our excellence has been recognised.”