Unicef Award for Ashton Primary School

(May 06, 2016)

Ashton Primary School has become Preston’s first school to be awarded Level 2 of the Unicef’s ‘Rights Respecting Schools Award’ (RRSA). Mark was invited to present their award to Headteacher, Sarah Barraclough on Friday 6th May 2016.

Ashton Primary School group

From left: Mark, School Unicef Ambassadors Faye, Katie, Mia, Ebony, Sarah Wilkinson  (Year 5 Teacher) and Tracey Wren (Lead for the Rights Respecting School Award). 

The RSSA Award is based on the principles of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation.  The school has recently achieved Level 2 status by demonstrating to assessors that it has embedded the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into its school ethos and curriculum.

The children, staff, parents and governors are delighted to share with everyone their excitement at becoming Preston’s first school to achieve this award.  There is only one other school in the county that has achieved this level of commitment.

The school body has been working to make a difference to the lives of children both in their own community and further afield.  Pupil ambassadors have spoken to their local parish congregation, invited parents into school to learn about their journey to becoming a UNICEF Rights Respecting School and have written to the Prime Minister regarding the OutRight Campaign.

The OutRight Campaign focusses on promoting and protecting children’s rights in humanitarian emergencies around the world by encouraging them to build their knowledge and understanding of children’s rights, and to raise their voices and views on rights with their school community and key decision-makers.

Pupils at Ashton Primary School have also been fundraising to support children in other countries to have the chance to go to school.  Other local schools have been invited in to see how the changes at Ashton are helping the children to become supportive and tolerant citizens.

As part of the celebrations of receiving the award, Mark was invited to address pupils at a whole school assembly on Friday 6th May 2016.  He also spoke to Year 5 pupils after the assembly about the 'Safe Schools Declaration', which looks to tackle the impact of armed conflict on education.

Ashton Primary School Pupils

Mark being shown some of the work being done in school as part of the Rights Respecting Schools Award.

Mark said:  ‘I am delighted that Ashton Primary School has been successful in achieving Level 2 of the Unicef’s Rights Respecting Award, especially as its the first school in Preston to do so.  I hope this will pave the way for more schools and educational establishments in Preston to think about taking part in this initiative. 

“Schools who commit to gaining the Rights Respecting School Award are committing themselves to developing every child’s talents and abilities to their full potential.

“Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the right of every child to a free education and added to that is the responsibility of every child to respect the rights of others, especially their parents; they also have a responsibility not to bully or harm each other and a responsibility to look after their environment. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the staff, parents, governors and especially the pupils of Ashton Primary in obtaining this award.”

Year 4 pupil Ryan, said: “Our school has changed for the better because with our rights we have respect for everyone – since the beginning of my journey learning about my rights I believe it has had a massive impact on my understanding of being a good citizen.”

Year 5 pupil, Katie added: “It made it real that children are being listened to after I received a reply to my outright letter stating it was going to be taken to the first Humanitarian Summit in May”.

The school welcomes visitors and the ambassadors enjoy talking about their journey and how their rights come with respect.

Mrs Tracy Wren - Lead for the Rights Respecting School Award said: “It is an opportunity for children to learn about having a right to education, medical support, and most importantly to be heard”.

Mrs Sarah Wilkinson Year 5 Teacher/Teacher for RRSA said: “The Head Teacher, Mrs Sarah Barraclough and I are all extremely proud of how the children have been enthusiastic and proud of their rights and how they continue to support others in learning about their rights.  All staff, governors and parents are listening and using language that ensures equality for all.”

At present the children are focusing on working with the ‘Safe School: not a battle ground’ Campaign. The children have been talking with MP Mark Hendrick and asking for his support in taking a letter to the Government for the International Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.

If you are interested in being a Rights Respecting School please have a look at the link below: or we can be contacted on or

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