UNICEF Gold award for Braes High School

editorial image

Braes High School is the first secondary school in the Falkirk district to be awarded UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Gold status.

The accolade is given to schools that have fully embedded the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in their policies, practice and ethos.

The programme was led by Fiona Malcolm, faculty head of humanities, who said the difference that a Rights Respecting School (RRS) makes goes beyond the school gates and has a positive impact on the whole community.

She explained that an RSS is a place where pupils can all feel confident in themselves and their ability to use their voices to raise awareness of global challenges.

She added: “Teachers ensure rights are embedded into the curriculum to enable discussion with the pupils about the big issues facing the world today from the refugee crisis to climate change.

“We are very pleased to have been presented with a gold award because values and children’s rights are at the heart of the very ethos of Braes High and RRS puts children’s rights at the heart of the curriculum and school life.

“The school has a vision that puts children at the centre of decisions that are made; for example, we have a strong pupil council and the young people are asked for their opinion on everything within the school that impacts them, from what and how they would like to learn to being involved in the process of interviewing teachers.

“RRS has been an important journey for Braes High because it has continued and galvanised a focus that was already in place.”

There are four key areas of impact for pupils within RRS - wellbeing, participation, relationships and self-esteem.

“RRS is very important for schools because it provides pupils with awareness of not just who they are, but what their rights are in our society,” Fiona said.

“It gives them confidence that their opinions matter and, by extension, that they matter.”

More than 4800 schools across the UK are currently involved in the UNICEF RRS programme. Of these, over 1700 schools have been granted a Silver or Gold accreditation by Unicef UK since 2006.

Schools involved in the Award have reported a positive impact on relationships and wellbeing, leading to better learning and behaviour, improved academic standards and less bullying.