In George Watson’s College, The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNCRC, and the health and wellbeing of our pupils lie at the heart of our ethos. Indeed they are embedded into all our curricular areas and our daily practice. Our pupils are taught about the unconditional rights they have been given, their value and the importance of respecting the rights of others. We aim to create an environment where relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect and that we all display rights respect behaviour towards each other.
In December 2016, after many years of work involving all in the community the Junior School was awarded Rights Respecting Schools Level 2. This was a fantastic accolade for the work undertaken by all in the Junior School and by our RRS Steering Group.
The Maroon Flame
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 underpinned by children’s rights and the sustainable goals. As an outward looking school, we are busy working in School and in our local, national and international communities in the areas of outdoor education, environment, Eco, global education and charitable work to widen our view of the world. Recently, we have been absolutely delighted to be awarded both Green Flag Status and the British Council International Award across the whole of George Watson’s College.
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
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!
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!
When I think about 'rights', I have to respect other people's rights as well.
I have learned that not all countries abide by the convention, for example, the USA, as it has its own Declaration.
– Angus C
I have learned that different countries around the world also have children with rights.
– Angus T
Everyone has the right to clean water because it helps to keep us healthy.
Children's rights are the key to a happy life for a child.
It's all about respecting other people.
Every child has the right to a healthy life.
54 is my new favourite number as there are 54 rights!
Pupils have been teaching pupils in assemblies.
I liked making the film!
What Are Children's Rights 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.
The 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 a Dining Hall Charter, a Playground Charter and every class has its own Classroom Charter. We have been learning about all our rights in assemblies and how important it is to respect the rights of others.
Level 2 Awarded
Mr Alex Clark, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Scotland, awarded the Junior School the Rights Respecting School Award Level 2 following three years of embedding children’s rights at the heart of our ethos and practice.
Work in this area continues with enthusiasm. The standard of Junior School assemblies, led by pupils, has been outstanding. They have focused on topics with an international thread such as world hunger, books, animals, religions of the world, and the importance of staying safe while on the internet.
Eco Flag Awarded
We were delighted to be awarded the Green Flag by Eco-Schools Scotland during Spring 2017. This was a significant achievement and the result of lots of hard work from pupils and staff from Nursery all the way through to S6. Everyone involved in monitoring litter, reducing waste, developing the campus outdoor spaces as resources for learning and recreation, digging the allotments to allow pupils to grow our own produce, and working towards increasing the biodiversity of the campus, have played their part in this award.
Eco is now thoroughly integrated into the curriculum.
The flag was raised above the School during EcoWeek.
The Junior School Assembly Programme, while incorporating children's rights, the School values and the sustainable goals took an international theme across the three terms of 2016/17. Each class was involved in leading one of the assemblies undertaking topics such as The World as a Global Village, diversity through International Day, investigating where our food comes from to examining the World’s Flora and Fauna.
An International Magazine
The Junior School magazine, Tick Talk, also took the theme of Internationalism for Session 2016/17 and was a wonderful celebration of children's work from Nursery to Primary 7. The front cover, designed by Lucy Cowan, depicting the School’s galleon, it's sails formed from the flags of the world and the UNICEF logo, in full sail as it voyages around the globe is a fabulous symbol for all the work being done to support our pupils in becoming more internationally minded citizens.
Bonjour Mon Ami!
In Primary 1 and 2, with the support from the staff in the JS Modern Language Department, pupils have learned basic French vocabulary, phrases, greetings, catchy songs and fascinating stories of French culture and traditions. A group of staff has also gone back to school and have attended beginners' French classes.
|Charity and Community|
Maroon Flame Burning Bright
Primary 7 classes make annual visits to Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory bringing back resources and a new set of skills to make hundreds of poppies which form the Junior School’s Poppy Collection.
As part of ‘Day for Change’ in support of Unicef, Primary 6 pupils organise an Educational Rainforest Day, changing themselves into rainforest explorers helping to shape our views on the importance of maintaining precious rainforest habitats. Primary 6 classes chose an animal to adopt with proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund.
St Catharine’s Convent: Pupil Council members organise an annual collection for the Homeless Project.
As a Junior School, our ‘Act of Kindness’ was to support the famine in East Africa through the Disasters Emergency Committee. We wore our favourite colours to school and paid a ‘Precious Pound.’ We examined what things we can buy for £1 and how far this amount of money will go in another country.
Loose Parts Play
“When children interact with loose parts, they enter a world of ‘what if’ that promotes the type of thinking that leads to problem solving and theoretical reasoning. Loose parts enhance children’s ability to think imaginatively and see solutions, and they bring a sense of adventure and excitement to children’s play” – Daly and Beloglovsky, 2015.
So what happened when Mrs Spreckley’s Primary 2 class were ‘let loose’?
Everyone was busy, everyone was involved and included, but probably most importantly, everyone had fun!
Exploring the Local Area
As part of out Local Area project each P3 class are taken on a tour of the Union Canal and Craiglockhart Woods. We are able to discover how these areas were used in the past and how people use them now.
As part of their topic work, each Primary 5 class visit North Berwick. We spend 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 tackle the topic of renewable energy. Sites for potential wave generators, in the Firth Of Forth, are debated and wind turbines created and their voltage measured.
The Sea and Seashore
Primary 5 pupils visit the Scottish Seabird 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.
Every year Primary 6 pupils visit Meigle Camp where impressive shelters are built, marshmallows toasted (burnt), Highland games won… and lost, the Wide Game ferociously played, friendships are fostered and smiles are in abundance! We travel to visit both Glamis Castle and Culloden, learning all about the Jacobite way of life. We face the redcoats and their muskets on the battle field and live to tell the tale and all in the beautiful Perthshire sunshine.
The ‘Jacobean’ themed Meigle Camp, was developed by the 1993 Primary 6 Staff Team of Kate Wilson and former members of staff; Val Barrie, Elaine Thow, Ali Robertson and Bill Jones.
Water of Leith Trips
As part of our Jacobite topic, Primary 6 visit the Water of Leith Visitor Centre, and learn more about how the Jacobites used the outdoor environment to survive! We learn about life in Edinburgh during the time of the Jacobite rebellions, build mini shelters (in preparation for the huge constructions made at Meigle), follow maps and experience what it would have been like fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden. A great day… and a great time had by all!