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Dallas Primary earns UNICEF UK Silver: Rights Aware school status


By Garry McCartney

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Dallas staff and pupils show off their new silver banner before its attached to the school wall.
Dallas staff and pupils show off their new silver banner before its attached to the school wall.

PUPILS from a village school have earned Silver status from UNICEF for their knowledge and understanding of human rights.

United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund advisor, Jenny Price, and Moray Education Support Officer for Wellbeing, Mhairi Brodie, visited Dallas Primary to assess P1-7's work on "learning about rights, through rights and for rights".

In the report that followed, they said: "Congratulations to all the pupils and adults of Dallas Primary School. You are now officially recognised as a Unicef UK Silver: Rights Aware school."

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation.

Nations that ratify this convention are bound to it by international law. Compliance is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is composed of members from countries around the world. Currently, 196 countries are party to it, including every member of the United Nations except the United States.

Head teacher Mairi Grant confirmed the assessors met with the pupils to discuss the three strands of the award.

They were guided by the Rights Respecting School committee of pupils Chloe Stinson, David Wallace, Dylan Fielding and Calum Giblin before meeting with staff and parents to talk about how the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is being embedded in school policy, practice and culture.

Finally, the young experts entertained the visitors with a performance of their song ‘We All Have Rights’.

Mrs Grant is proud of her pupils, who also hosted a ‘Teach the Community’ event on Friday, February 14 where they facilitated mini-lessons for adults on what it means to be a Rights Respecting School.

She said: "Parents told us that their children have shared stories of their learning at home, such as children having to walk for miles to fetch clean water and having to work on cocoa farms instead of going to school.

"Our pupils have shown endless enthusiasm for learning about the wider world and empathy for children who are not accessing their rights; from children in Australia who are not breathing clean air as a result of bush fires to others who have had to flee their homes as refugees from the conflict in Syria."

The children made a snakes and ladders board to teach the community about rights at the community event.
The children made a snakes and ladders board to teach the community about rights at the community event.

Eva Landy (9) pointed out that it is one of the rights to know about the rights.

She said: "It’s good because we can tell our family and they can tell others. If everyone knows about them the world will be a better place."

Chloe Stinson (10) added: "It is important to be aware of rights so that everyone can be nice to each other and show them to each other outside school. All the teachers and pupils are really nice to each other at Dallas - every school should be like this."

Mrs Grant finished: "We are confident that the children are beginning to see themselves as rights respecting global citizens and advocates for fairness and children’s rights both locally and globally.

"We were given lots of positive feedback in our Silver Accreditation Report along with some pointers to help us on our journey to Gold. We hope that parents and the wider Dallas community will get involved."

Tilly Gibson (6) and Rose Owen (8) making their point clear.
Tilly Gibson (6) and Rose Owen (8) making their point clear.

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