Painsley Catholic College is the first secondary school in Staffordshire to be accredited as ‘Gold’ by UNICEF UK as a result of the college’s continued commitment to the Rights Respecting School (RRS) programme.
UNICEF UK 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 respects the rights of others.
Gold is the highest accolade given by UNICEF and shows a deep and thorough commitment to children’s rights at all levels of school life. Painsley is not only the first secondary school in Staffordshire to be awarded Gold, but it is also the first RRSA Gold Catholic secondary school in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, an area which extends from Stoke-on-Trent in the North to the Thames in the South and includes seven cities and five counties.
A Gold level Rights Respecting School not only teaches about children’s rights; it also models rights and respect in all its relationships, whether between children or between children and adults and demonstrates that these principles are fully embedded in school life.
Acting Principal at Painsley Catholic College, Mrs Rachel Waugh said, “As a result of our Rights Respecting work we have seen many benefits such as pupils’ enhanced moral development, more positive and caring attitudes towards diversity in society and the removal of prejudice. A big ‘thank you’ and congratulations to all students and staff involved in the achievement of this important and respected initiative. Our whole college community is excited to continue to develop and grow as a Rights Respecting School in keeping with our ethos and mission statement, ‘to love and respect others as children of God’. RRS is recognised as being in harmony with the college mission statement. The Catholic ethos of our college recognises the universal nature of rights and the vocation of our college places children at the heart of our mission.
“Our commitment to RRS will be reflected in a consistent approach to the student voice, the role of the school council and the student leadership group and We will continue to support a variety of charitable projects as well as supporting the local, national and global community.”
The official report from UNICEF highlights two particular strengths of Painsley Catholic College as:
“The genuine empowerment of the students made possible by the way in which the overwhelming majority of adults not only respect but also welcome their opinions and ideas and act upon them.”
“The powerful sense of community which is clearly founded on strong values and principles including non-discrimination and mutual respect.”
The rights respecting students of Painsley Catholic College are clearly making a difference, with and for each other and for the wider world. One student, relatively new to the school observed, “In other schools it more like occasional people doing things for others from time to time. Here it’s everyone, all the time…because we know about the rights we are really driven.”
Painsley’s commitment to being a Rights Respecting School is demonstrated through a variety of ways in the daily life of the college: At the start of each academic year, all students and staff agree to a classroom code of conduct charter that reflects the importance of their rights and the rights of others.
This code of conduct charter is visible in every classroom and referenced by staff in the promotion of behaviour for learning. RRS is also reflected in the behaviour policy of the College.