Rights Respecting Schools Award 

UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools Award works with schools to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive.

UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools Award embeds children’s rights in daily school life and empowers children to grow into responsible active global citizens.

With support from UNICEF’s child rights education team, Rights Respecting Schools put in place a set of standards based on equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation.

As a result, the Rights Respecting Schools Award transforms whole schools into places where children enjoy learning, feel safe, nurtured and in control of their future.


How it works

The award has three stages: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The journey to Gold can take up to four years and UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools team will work with you all the way. 


The Bronze Award is the planning stage when you’re school prepares how it will further embed children’s rights into the day to day running of your school.

Once you start the Bronze Award you will be assigned a dedicated UNICEF Adviser and be given access to our online training area, so any teacher in your school can learn the fundamentals of children’s rights and how to attain Bronze.


We work with teachers and staff through every step of your journey towards Silver.

We’ll provide training, lesson plans, guidance and, when your school is ready, an accreditation visit by one of our child rights professionals.

This stage is where you will begin to see a real difference for the young people in your school.


After achieving Silver, we will empower you to go for Gold. At this stage of the award, young people see themselves as global citizens and advocate for global justice.

The impact of rights on school life becomes clear.

Support at every stage

At each stage of the Rights Respecting journey, primary and secondary schools receive support including:

  • An online training course to introduce all staff to the award and prepare for Bronze
  • In person, phone and email support from a dedicated UNICEF Adviser
  • Feedback on action plans and post-accreditation visit reports
  • Free downloadable resources to support teaching and staff development
  • Access to a comprehensive website with information for each stage of the award
  • Regular newsletters and a closed social media group

We also have a range of face-to-face training courses and teaching and learning activity packs available to purchase.

A transformational approach

The award improves the lives of children by putting rights at the heart of school policy and practice.

The journey from Bronze: Rights Committed, to Gold: Rights Respecting, can be transformational for whole schools, as well as for individual children.

The difference for children

Young people attending Rights Respecting Schools feel safe in school, respected and supported by the adults who care for them, engaged with their education and empowered to act for others locally and globally.

When a school reaches Gold, we know that:

  • 78% of children say they like the way they are.
  • 80% of children say their teachers listen to them.
  • 79% of children say they feel respected by adults at the school.*

The difference for teachers

Research in the UK with school leaders indicate that RRSA leads to greater confidence among pupils and improved relationships across the school, with reduced bullying and discriminatory behaviours.

Pupils are more likely to develop resilience and are empowered to become active global citizens.

Increased respect for their own learning and for the right of others to education helps to bring about change in the classroom – even where motivation and engagement are already high.

When a school reaches Gold, we know that:

  • 98% of adults enjoy working at the school
  • 95% of adults say young people influence decisions made in school.
  • 99% of headteachers report a significant impact on positive relationships in school.*

*RRSA Impact Report 2018

Rights Respecting Schools resources

To help you on your Rights Respecting Schools journey, UNICEF UK and UNICEF Ireland have created a selection of resources for both primary and secondary schools to help you learn and teach about children’s rights.

If you need any additional materials, resources or support please email rrsa@unicef.ie.