Cllr Cowan with Linda McAulay-Griffiths, HT Mr Spooner, Mrs Kerr, Robert Chatham, Karen Watson and Hugh, Holly, Millie and Christopher

Hillhead Primary earns gold award

Hillhead Primary has earned a Gold: Rights Respecting Award from UNICEF, a leading organisation supporting children and their rights across the world.

The school, which is one of just five primary schools in East Ayrshire to earn this prestigious award, had to demonstrate that the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child had been embedded into their ethos and curriculum.

They had to demonstrate that the children and the wider school community knew about and understood the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and could describe how it impacts on their lives and on the lives of children everywhere.

Also that actions and decisions affecting children are rooted in, reviewed and resolved through rights and that children and adults collaborate to develop and maintain a school community based on equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation.

Councillor Elaine Cowan, Spokesperson for Education and, Children and Young People met with Acting Head Teacher Stephen Spooner, the school’s Rights Respecting Coordinator Louise Kerr, Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Chief Education Officer and Head of Education; Karen Watson Vice-Chair of the Parent Council, Janitor Robert Chatham plus Hugh and Christopher from P7, Millie from P6 and Holly from P5 to find out more about their journey to Gold.

Councillor Cowan said: “I was delighted to find out more about Hillhead Primary’s six year journey to earn their Gold: Rights Respecting Award from UNICEF and to congratulate the school on their success.

“There are four key areas of impact for children and young people at a Rights Respecting school – wellbeing, participation, relationships and self-esteem. The aim of the journey to the Gold Award is to ensure that the children and young people are healthier and happier, that they feel safe, that they have better relationships and that they are active and involved in school life and the wider world.

“At Hillhead the children and young people also understood the importance of education in their lives. Article 29 of the UN Convention of Child Rights was central to the school’s journey – ‘Children’s education should help them fully develop their personalities, talents and abilities. It should teach them to understand their own rights and to respect other people’s rights, cultures and differences. It should help them to live peacefully and protect the environment.’

“Speaking to Christopher, Hugh, Holly and Millie I was extremely impressed by their confidence, and their knowledge. They have clearly been empowered by the Rights Respecting journey, talking enthusiastically about their leadership roles and supporting their peers in the classroom and the playground. They also explained that Paddington was chosen as their school’s Rights Respecting mascot and that a former pupil made him a lovely jacket with the values that were important to the whole school.”

Acting Head Teacher Stephen Spooner said: “The ‘Rights School Award’ (RRSA) helps our children grow into thoughtful, respectful and responsible young members of the school and wider community. By learning about their rights, our children also learn about the importance of respecting the rights of others. Working towards Gold was very much a team effort and everyone within the school embraced our shared goals. I am very proud of all our pupils, staff, families and wider community for playing their part in this achievement.”

Drongan, Fenwick, Gargieston and Onthank Primaries have earned their Gold Award and every school in East Ayrshire has now committed to starting their Rights Respecting Schools journey.