Child Friendly Leeds and Kerr Mackie Primary School joined forces this week to mark 30 years since the launch of the United Nations convention on children’s rights.
The convention came into being in 1989, with governments worldwide committed to ensuring all children were given the same rights including meeting their basic needs and helping them reach their full potential. In Leeds this ethos can be seen in Child Friendly Leeds, which was launched in 2012 by HRH The Queen, and the city’s firm commitment to promoting the voice and influence of children and young people in the city.
Kerr Mackie is a ‘Rights Respecting School’, proud of raising awareness of the UNCRC and is accredited with a UNICEF Silver Rights Award. As a ‘Rights Respecting School’, pupils at Kerr Mackie learn about their own rights and the importance of respecting the rights of others. The Rights Respecting School Award helps pupils to grow into confident, caring and responsible young people both in school and within the wider community.
Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council executive member for children and families said:
“It has been an honour to visit Kerr Mackie Primary School to mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The work of the pupils on what rights mean to them and their school highlights how important it is for children to have a voice and influence in their lives, and is in line with our commitment to put children and young people at the heart of everything we do. It has been inspiring to see the energy and enthusiasm pupils have towards seeing their rights being put into action, which is vital for achieving our ambition for Leeds to be a child friendly city.”
Headteacher of Kerr Mackie Primary School Jennifer Millington said:
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege hosting our visitors at Kerr Mackie Primary School to celebrate this special occasion. Children really are at the heart of all we do at Kerr Mackie. Our pupils take great pride in showcasing their learning on why we are a Rights Respecting School. Being accredited with a Unicef Silver Rights Awards means a lot to our pupils and they have enjoyed the opportunity to share and show with passion and conviction how important the convention is to them and everybody else in the school environment.”
Max, a Rights Respecting School Champion in Year 6 said:
“Without rights children might not be protected as much as they are and every child deserves to be protected and have a good life.”
Niamh, a Rights Respecting School Champion in Year 6 said:
“Rights are important because without them children wouldn’t get what they need. Rights help children learn to their full potential and help them have a good healthy lifestyle.”
The 30th anniversary celebrations of the convention continued on Wednesday evening with the third annual Youth Voice Awards event. Held at Leeds Civic Hall, the event saw the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Eileen Taylor honour young people from across the city who collectively volunteer thousands of hours every year on projects and initiatives rooted in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the right to have a say.
The young people received Leeds Youth Award certificates to celebrate and acknowledge their participation in a range of youth voice projects including; Leeds Children’s Mayor, UK Youth Parliament, Leeds Youth Council, the Care Leavers Council and the ‘Have a Voice’ Children in Care Council. It also featured the first screening of a film celebrating 30 years of the UNCRC that has been produced in collaboration with young people from Leeds along with those from partner cities around the world including Lille in France.