Rights Respecting School

​​banner of pupil photosHealth and Wellbeing and children's rights are central to the curriculum at George Watson's College and are embedded in everything we do.

Rights Respecting School logo

As a result, in Session 2014/15, The Junior School began work with Unicef to become a Rights Respecting School. Through this, the children have become aware that they have many rights and that it is important to respect the rights of others. These rights or 'articles' are detailed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. There are three stages in the journey to becoming awarded with a Level 1 Rights Respecting School accreditation. The first is recognition of commitment which was achieved in October 2014. The second, following a session of development in this area, is the submission of self-evaluation and impact reports to RRS and finally, a visit from RRS assessors who view the work that has been undertaken. 

Over the course of 2014/15, we established a steering group of Junior School pupils, parents, governors and members of the local community to drive forward this initiative. It was agreed by the group to create an area of the website to inform the wider Watson's family of the very important work that the children are doing.

The Level 2 Rights Respecting School accreditation was presented at a Lower Primary Assembly in February 2017.

The Rights Respecting School Steering Group has given me a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something very special. Not only have I gained an insight into the wonderful energy, enthusiasm and creativity that the children and the School bring to their work on this very important subject but I have also learned a great deal about rights from the perspective of primary age children through the work presented at each meeting. Membership of the group has encouraged me to 'think outside the box' and engage the creative side of my brain a bit more too!

– Parent member of the Steering Group


If rights and respect are mixed together, responsible citizens will be the result. 

– Mrs Wilson

The world through children's eyes is amazing. 

– Mrs Elliott

When I think about 'rights', I have to respect other people's rights as well.

– Patrick

I have learned that different countries around the world also have children with rights.

– Angus T

Children's rights are the key to a happy life for a child.

– Callum

I have learned that not all countries abide by the convention, for example the USA, as it has its own Declaration. 

– Angus C

Everyone has the right to clean water beacuase it helps to keep us healthy.

– Ava

I learned that there are places that help people who are homeless. I went to visit one of these places and organised our school's donations. I made a difference!

– Fintan

It's all about respecting other people.

– Amelia

Every child has the right to a healthy life.

– Lewis

I've learned that there are children's rights up to the age of 18. But, they don't stop there as everyone has Human Rights for all their life!

– Iona

54 is my new favourite number as there are 54 rights!

– Ellie

I liked making the film!

– Charlotte

Pupils have been teaching pupils in assemblies.

– Conor


What Are Children's Rights All About?

Our RRS Steering Group – 10 pupils from the Lower and Upper Primary buildings – decided to make a short film to inform our community of what children's rights are all about. 

Using the expertise of Primary 7 pupils, we had great fun putting illustrations to words and then compiling them together to make a short animation.  We hope that our film illustrates to you what the rights are, why we have them and how important they are to children across the world.


Pupil-made SHANARRI WheelThe SHANARRI wheel highlights eight of the main rights of the child. The child or young person (under the age of 18) and their family are at the centre of this very important wheel.  The Scottish Government introduced this wheel.

S – Safe: protected from abuse, neglect or harm
H – Healthy: experiencing the best possible physical and mental health
A – Achieving: receiving support and guidance in learning - growing in confidence and self-esteem
N – Nurtured: having a nurtured and stimulating place to live and grow
A – Active: having the chance to take part in a wide range of activities
R – Respect: to be given a voice
R – Responsible: Being involved in schools and communities
I – Included; receiving guidance to overcome social, educational, physical and economic inequalities

We have been learning about SHANARRI in assemblies and in class. Our Dining Hall and Playground Charters are designed around the SHANARRI Wheel.

Ellie Paterson (Primary 6)

Looking Outwards

Eglantyne Jebb, the founder of Save the Children, worked all her life to promote children's rights across the world and was often referred to as the 'White Flame'.

Here at Watson's, we could be considered as being a 'Maroon Flame' as we continue our work on Children's Rights. Being outward looking, we are working in the areas of Charity and Community,  Internationalism, The Environment, and Outdoor Education to widen our view of the world while considering actions that we can take in support of others.

Children's Rights

Celebrating Children's Rights

On Friday 30 September 2016 GWC Junior School hosted The High School of Dundee, St. George's, Robert Gordon's and Cornbank Primary School to an event celebrating the Rights of the Child. The day began with a presentation on UNCRC and considered what rights are, why we have them and their value. To get us all talking to each other, this was followed by a game of Globingo. DHS won! We then split into discussion groups and, using photographs and the rights, discussed the rights that were being upheld or indeed violated. The feedback from the groups was excellent.

The GWC Steering Group then gave a presentation describing our Rights Respecting Journey and what the future holds for us. Lunch was provided by our Mr B Calder, our Assistant Catering Manager, who put on a great spread for us all.

Prior to tours of our school looking at our environment and the work we have done which is displayed on the walls, we showed our visitors the film that we made with the P7s. The last half an hour was devoted to questions and answers and the importance of becoming internationally minded.

All the staff were extremely complimentary, saying that they could really see how the rights were just embedded everywhere and that everything was pulled together beautifully. All said that they would recommend starting the RRS Journey to their school, Cornbank has already begun! All in all it was a very successful day, enjoyed by all.



Institution du Saint-Espri

We have twinned with the Institution du Saint-Esprit in Beauvais. Our teachers have met together in Paris, and in Edinburgh, to discuss and plan ways in which we can work closely together in the coming years through the use of technology. 

Bonjour Mon Ami!

In the Spring Term Primary 1 pupils were introduced to some simple words, phrases and catchy songs in French. We are learning to introduce ourselves to each other and to Monsieur Baert who is helping us all. Merci Beaucoup!

Cambridge University

Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) are currently working with Cambridge University to explore how RRSA can make improvements to their current programme for schools in terms of staff training, support that is offered and improved access to their services. We have participated in this project through an on line survey and a telephone conference call. All responses from across the country, along with insights from the team at Cambridge, will help RRSA make valuable improvements for the benefit of children, teachers and schools.


Charity and Community

Maroon Flame Burning Bright

Maroon flameWith our 'maroon flame' burning brightly, we made cardboard money boxes and filled them with our loose change and the entire School, Nursery to S6, completed a sponsored walk.

£1,154.79 raised for The Foundation

pupil holding cakeThis year's Upper Primary Bake Off raised a tremendous £1,154.79 for the George Watson's Family Foundation.

At morning breaks on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, pupils from the Upper Primary and the Senior School enjoyed a glorious feast of wonderful, home baked, tasty treats from our giant bake sale, at an event that is fast becoming an eagerly anticipated part of the George Watson's calendar.



Eco Week

gardeningWith environmental issues uppermost in our minds we took part in a great many activities during the School's Eco Week, all to promote the importance of being Eco friendly and to enjoy working together outdoors.

This year as part of our Eco Week pupils have been collecting rubbish which we will use to create our own 'litter bugs'. We are then going to research into what impact litter has on the earth, animals, birds, marine life and people.

Little Miracles

Planting seedsWith loving care we have tended plants from seed observing and recording the miracle of growth. Our resident 'green fingered' expert Mr Little (our janitor) has offered us both his expertise and enthusiasm.

Mission Compostable!

Collecting LitterWith the Sustainable Development Goals agreed in Paris at the end of last year, looking after the environment is key to us here at Watson's. After collecting all the litter from playtimes for two weeks, the children of Primary 2 engaged in a series of fun learning activities designed to develop their Eco awareness and the importance of sustainability issues in our world.


Outdoor Education

Exploring the Local Area

Union Canal tripAs part of out Local Area project each P3 class were taken on a tour of the Union Canal and Craiglockhart Woods. We were able to discover how these areas were used in the past and how people use them now. Over the course of one month each trip was subjected to weather from a different season from glorious sunshine to surprising snow showers.

North Berwick

North BerwickAs part of their topic work, each Primary 5 class visited North Berwick. We spent a morning on the beach studying life in the rockpools and finding out how seashore creatures have adapted to life in some of the most extreme conditions.

In the afternoon, we tackled the topic of renewable energy. Sites for potential wave generators, in the Firth Of Forth, were debated and wind turbines created and their voltage measured.

The Sea and Seashore

sealife centre visitPrimary 5 pupils visited the Scottish Sealife Centre, learning about different sea creatures and using the information to create leaflets. We have learned about lifestyles, ecosystems, food chains and how to classify animals.

Meigle Adventures

Meigle campPrimary 6 pupils visited Meigle Camp where impressive shelters were built, marshmallows were toasted (burnt), Highland games were won… and lost, the Wide Game was ferociously played, friendships were fostered and smiles were in abundance! We travelled to visit both Glamis Castle and Culloden, learning all about the Jacobite way of life. We faced the redcoats and their muskets on the battle field and lived to tell the tale and all in the beautiful Perthshire sunshine.

Water of Leith Trips

pupils in woodAs part of our Jacobite topic, Primary 6 was lucky enough to visit the Water of Leith Visitor Centre, and learn more about how the Jacobites used the outdoor environment to survive! We learnt about life in Edinburgh during the time of the Jacobite rebellions, built mini shelters (in preparation for the huge constructions made at Meigle), followed maps and experienced what it would have been like fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden. A great day…even with the very mixed weather!

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