Twelve schools in the Western Isles registered for Unicef UK’s Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) since September 2018.

Out of the 12 Western Isles schools registered:

  • 8 schools achieved the Bronze prize: Rights Committed
  • 1 school (Daliburgh School) achieved Silver prize: Rights Aware; and
  • 1 school (Balivanich School) has achieved the Gold prize: Rights Respecting

Unicef UK’s RRSA is based on principles of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation. The RRSA supports schools across the UK to embed children’s rights in their ethos and culture. The Award recognises achievement in putting the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) at the heart of a school’s practice to improve wellbeing and help all children realise their potential.

The RRSA takes a staged approach for schools to become Rights Respecting:

  • Bronze: Rights Committed is awarded once schools have audited their current practice and written an action plan
  • Silver: Rights Aware focuses on the commitment of school leadership, knowledge of the CRC and the setting up of the school infrastructure
  • Gold: Rights Respecting is reached when the values and ethos of the rights respecting framework are fully embedded in policy and practice, and there is evidence of impact from children

The Award is reaching an increasing number of schools with more than 5000 in the UK currently involved in the RRSA, 18% of all schools in the UK and over 55% of schools in Scotland, reaching 1.8 million children.

Chairman of the Education, Skills and Children’s Services Committee, Councillor Angus McCormack, said: “This is very welcome news and I would like to congratulate all of our schools involved in this award, particularly Balivanich School on achieving Gold and Daliburgh School on achieving Silver.

“It is important that our young people feel safe and happy in our schools and the Comhairle is committed to continuing to work with staff and parents to ensure that is the case. Well done to everyone involved in this worthwhile initiative.”

Meanwhile, Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has highlighted the achievements of schools in the Western Isles which have received sportscotland School Sport Awards. Mr Cameron submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 15th October in which he praised the efforts of students and staff for successfully participating in the sportscotland initiative.

He said: “I am delighted that so many schools took part in the scheme. Engaging in sport can make a very positive contribution to a young person’s health and welfare.

“And sport can also give young people the invaluable experience of working, and achieving,  as part of a team. These life skills will hold them in very good stead for the rest of their lives.

“My congratulations go to everyone who has participated, or supported, these activities. I very much hope they continue to go from strength to strength.”