We recently applied for the status of a Rights Respecting School. We were delighted to receive this status. This page contains some extracts from the report.
We would like to thank the young people, the leadership team, and all the adults at the school for their warm welcome, for the opportunity to speak with staff and pupils during the assessment and for the evidence detailing the work towards becoming a Level 1 Rights-Respecting school. Prior to the assessment visit you provided a comprehensive self-evaluation form and a detailed impact evaluation. It was clear to the assessors during the visit that everyone places a real importance on developing a Rights Respecting ethos.
It was particularly notable that becoming Rights Respecting has been embraced by the whole school community and is so completely in accord with the school’s values and vision..
Sandside Lodge School is a highly inclusive and nurturing school with a strong sense of community which is fully committed to further developing its Rights Respecting ethos. The Headteacher is clear that ’the children are central to everything we do…’ It is evident that the Leadership Team has a deep understanding of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and how it can be used to underpin all aspects of school improvement and as a rationale to support the core values of the school community.
All the young people spoken with were very clear in expressing that they felt safe at school and could articulate numerous practical ways in which this was ensured. They were keen to point out that ‘we are in safe hands…we trust the teachers.’ Another student explained that ‘All the staff look out for us…if something is bothering us we can go to the chill out room.’ The young people were clear that they, too, have a role to play ‘ We don’t put others in danger.’
This school is a community in which the voice of the young people is actively encouraged and taken seriously. During a recent OFSTED visit the students requested and secured a meeting with inspectors when they discovered that there were no plans for them to be spoken with!
The young people are able to make informed choices about things that affect them because they have good access to information and are encouraged and enable to make positive choices about key aspects of their lives. Transition support is given a very high priority and the school gave powerful examples of students making decisions about the next phase of their learning which were genuinely independent and not always in line with family and school assumptions and expectations. The students’ involvement in a range of local and global charities demonstrates their enthusiasm to commit to global citizenship. They are beginning to make connections between their desire to give and the need for justice and the realisation of rights: ‘We need to help people who are struggling’ and they were aware that their eco and fair trade work is related to rights. The school is realistic about the challenges around the global dimension of learning and is committed to developing this work further by building on existing initiatives Charity fundraising efforts, which include Comic Relief and Day For Change are starting to have a greater focus on raising awareness and campaigning.