Rights Respecting School

Gold Rights Respecting School 

We are proud that George Watson’s College is a gold accredited Unicef Rights Respecting School

At Watson’s, the health and wellbeing of our pupils are reflected at the heart of our values. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is something every one of us subscribes to.

Our school is also the proud recipient of the British Council International School Award. 

The importance of being a Rights Respecting School is embedded throughout our curricular and extra-curricular programmes. 

In our school, pupils learn:

  • Through rights - ethos and relationships
  • For rights - participation, empowerment and action

We aim to create an environment where relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect. Every one of us is expected to display Rights Respecting Behaviour towards each other.

Embedding the articles of the convention across the school has involved both the Junior School and Senior School working collaboratively. 

Project 810 as a Rights Respecting School 

Did you know? 

Our Primary 7 pupils have had the opportunity to meet our constituency MP, Ian Murray in the Houses of Parliament where they questioned him on a wide range of issues including climate change, plastic pollution, the fight for clean air and the plight of refugees.

At Watson’s, our pupils participate in an outward-looking education, which seeks to equip them as global citizens when it’s time to go out into the world.  

This means our learning is not confined only to the classroom. They are challenged to learn about the environment, to be able to thrive outdoors and to understand some of the challenges that the world faces. We believe that building global knowledge and understanding is crucial. 

Our Project 810 encourages our staff and pupils at Watson’s to foster commitment and participation to three central themes:

  • Action for Fairer Communities - Make our own society, and others across the world, fairer places to live 
  • Action for Environmental Sustainability - Limit the damage to our environment and prevent conflict as resources like food, water and land become scarce
  • Action for Global Understanding - Improve our understanding of each other to tackle prejudice, hatred and fear and to reduce violence and conflict

What makes Watson’s a Rights Respecting school? 

There are many great examples of why George Watson’s College is a gold accredited Rights Respecting School. 

Supporting others

At Watson’s, we have an extensive charity programme supporting local, national and international organisations.

Pupils are directly involved in selecting some of the charities we support, in particular learning more about the impact that these organisations have upon the communities they support. 

Programmes, such as our Watson’s  Malawi Partnership enable pupils to travel internationally, to learn about and support programmes which help to improve the lives of children and adults in this African country. 

Assemblies with purpose 

Every assembly at Watson’s in both the Junior School and Senior School, now directly linked to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals with focus on a specific right(s). This has included: 

Junior School 

  • Some children’s rights around the world are not respected 
  • The impact of climate change and what we can do 
  • How deforestation affects us all 
  • What palm oil is and why it is a big problem 
  • What could happen to our oceans if we don’t clear up the plastics
  • The rights of child refugees 
  • What it’s like not to have the opportunity to attend school 
  • UNCRC 30th anniversary celebrations 

Senior School 

  • Learning about the impact of  war, including meeting survivors Holocaust and commemorating the genocide in Srebrenica 
  • The impact of discrimination on the basis of race, gender or disability towards young people  
  • The rights of every child, regardless of age, whether they are held in detention or a refugee  

Health and wellbeing 

The Junior School is committed to ensuring that children’s mental and emotional wellbeing is supported in ways that are appropriate to each age and stage. 

'Building Resilience & Skipper’ for pupils, and ‘Raising Children with Confidence'  for parents, are two highly successful programmes that have been introduced into our curriculum.

The character of Skipper has become a well loved figure within our Junior School as he helps to teach children how to cope with ups and downs of life utilising the analogy of the River of Life.

Our Senior School is rightly proud of its status as an LGBT Youth Scotland Gold Charter School. This was an extensive process and included the launch of the first Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) in August 2015.  

The group has acted as a safe, supportive space for our pupils, and has been an excellent catalyst for the many advances and change such as: 

  • Extensive staff and pupil training
  • Updates to Personal & Social Development lessons
  • Challenging heteronormative culture by updating our library
  • The introduction of some gender-neutral toilets
  • Switching to ‘School Captains’ from ‘Head Boy and Head Girl’
  • A uniform update to include trousers for girls
  • Lighting the Senior School in rainbow colours to mark ‘National Coming Out Day’