City celebrates leading the way on children’s rights
An event celebrating Swansea’s success in placing children’s rights at the heart of education in the city has taken place at the Waterfront Museum.
Swansea Council was the first local authority in the UK to embed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC ) at the heart of everything it does.
During the last five years this approach has been implemented in nearly all schools across Swansea and has had a hugely positive impact on pupils’ wellbeing, behaviour, attendance and enjoyment of school.
It has given young people a say in school planning, teaching, decision-making, policies and practice.
Schools in Swansea have taken part in the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools initiative and more than 48,000 children and young people, 2,050 teaching staff and 1,320 non-teaching staff have played their part.
This is significantly higher than any other authority area in the whole of UK.
Monday’s celebration, which was hosted by UNICEF in partnership with Swansea Council, was opened by Welsh Government Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies, and speakers included Children’s Commissioner Sally Holland. UNICEF programme director Anna Kettley and Swansea Council’s Director of People Services Chris Sivers.
Guests also heard about how schools across the city had benefitted from the programme from headteachers and from the pupils themselves. They were also treated to a performance by Cadle School Choir.
Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Life Long Learning Jennifer Raynor said: “Our partnership with UNICEF and the success of the Rights Respecting Schools initiative has exceeded all our expectations and the feedback from schools and pupils is that they really value the work that is being done.
“But our commitment is not just in schools, as a council we have taken this approach further by ensuring that UNCRC is considered in every decision the authority has to take.”
Anna Kettley, Director of Programmes at Unicef UK said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the work of Swansea Council in embedding children’s rights in schools, helping them to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, and their talents are nurtured.
“The Rights Respecting Schools Award embeds these values in daily school life and helps to keep children happy, healthy and safe.”