Rights Respecting Schools Award
Congratulations to the whole school community of St Mary's. We have achieved our UNICEF Rights Respecting School status.
Mr D McGimpsey, UK Assessor, spent a busy day at St. Mary's in April finding out about the wonderful work that goes on. He spoke to representatives from every aspect of school life; children, staff, parents and governors. He and enjoyed the whole school assembly. He was informed of everything that has been happening during the year. He said 'St Mary's have comfortably achieved Level 1 award and indeed are well on the way to Level 2 - it is a superb example of a rights respecting school'
We are delighted and everyone in our school community is rightly proud of the wonderful work that goes on to ensure that we respect the rights of everyone in our school, in the local community and in the world beyond.
Becoming A Rights Respecting School
The journey towards becoming a rights respecting school began for St Mary's in April 2015. We elected our pupil council who would steer the work forward in school and enlisted the services of Mr T Maguire [Governor] Mrs C Shivers [Parent body] and Mr S Brolly [Consultant].
At our initial meeting in June we prepared an action plan for work needed to achieve Recognition of Commitment status. We duly received this award in September and our certificate is proudly displayed in the school foyer.
Rights Respecting Pupil Council
The pupil group has representatives from all classes in Year Groups Four to Seven. They are working extremely hard to make sure that the rights respecting ethos is firmly embedded in our school, through presentations at assemblies, mounting of displays and reviewing our school mission statement in line with the articles of the Convention of the Rights Of The Child.
Assemblies Relating Children's Rights
Every class has chosen an assembly theme based around the Articles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of The Child.
Primary Three/Four held their assembly on European Day of Languages and focused on Article 30 . They presented their assembly to the school community and parents. They were joined on the day by Mr Eamon McNamee, Support Officer for Inclusion and Diversity for Northern Ireland.
P2/3 Assembly -Water
On 8th of October Primary Two /Three chose the theme of water for their assembly. They had Article 24 as their focus. They sang 'watery' songs and told the audience how children have the right to clean water in every country in the world.
Celebrating Universal Children's Day
Primary Six held their assembly on 12th of November to celebrate Universal Children's Day. They had researched facts about children in other countries and how we can help them access their rights. It was a very informative assembly and made us all appreciate the choices and opportunities we have in our lives.
Pathway to Peace Programme
As part of our work towards becoming a rights respecting school Primary Four and Five are working collaboratively to create a peace pledge for St Mary's. We have had some 'brainstorming' sessions to bring together our ideas of what peace means to us . We worked in groups to 'think, pair and share our ideas' . We will use 'Collaborate' software to share our ideas via video conferencing and will create a peace pledge for St Mary's.
Primary Four enjoyed their group work to share ideas. You can see them hard at work in the pictures below....
Presenting Our Pledge at Assembly
Anna, Oisin ,Katie and Dara presented our pledge to the whole school community at Friday Assembly. Our pledge is displayed in the school foyer and Assembly Hall.
St Mary's Peace Pledge
We pledge to......
Plant the seeds of peace
In our hearts each day
Help them grow
And share this peace
With all along the way.
Anti Bullying Week 2015
The Rights Respecting Council launched Anti Bullying Week 2015 with an assembly on Monday 16th of November. They showed a PowerPoint presentation describing different forms of bullying and who we can talk to in our school if problems arise. They also launched the annual Anti Bullying poster competition and this year in addition they gave out information about an activity for Key Stage Two pupils called 'these three words' where pupils describe in three words what bullying means to them. When the activities for Anti Bullying week have been completed we will share them with the Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum.
Here we can see our Rights Respecting Group at work introducing activities for this very important week in the life of our school........
P4/5 Assembly - Everyone's A Hero!
P4/5 chose the theme of Heroes for their assembly on 18th November as part of the activities for Anti Bullying Week .They invited their parents and all members of the school community to hear their message, which was that heroes are just everyday people who show their super powers by helping ,being kind and including everyone at all times .They chose to focus on Articles 3, 19 and 28 to relay their ideas. The mums, dads, grannies and granddads really enjoyed hearing that we want to 'end bullying now and become rights respecting heroes' every day in St Mary's !.
Anti Bullying Week Poster Competition
During Anti Bullying Week we held our annual poster competition to highlight the message that bullying is wrong and does not have any place in our rights respecting school.
As usual we had a super response to the competition!. All classes participated and winners from each class were presented with their prizes at morning assembly on 24th of November. The winning entries all delivered a strong message on the theme of 'What bullying means to me'
Well done to all the pupils who took part. All our posters have been made into pic collage posters and will be displayed on Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum Website [ www.niabf.org]
Here are some of the prizewinning entries along with members of the School Council and Rights Respecting Council who presented the prizes.
Visit from the Director of Children's Law Centre
On Monday 30th of November we were delighted to receive a visit from Paddy Kelly Director of the Children's Law Centre in Belfast. Paddy is a past pupil of St Mary's and she was extremely interested in our work towards becoming a rights respecting school. She watched our presentations and gave us a very interesting talk about the work she and her colleagues do in the area of Children's Rights. She was really impressed to see that Article 12 is featuring very strongly in our work .Children from all year groups Four to Seven explained that they had been involved in decision making about local area planning with the Mid Ulster Council.
She said 'it is very evident that the pupils in St Mary's really have the right to give their views and that these views are listened to which is so important' .
Paddy Kelly Director CLC is welcomed to St Mary's by Principal and representatives from School Council and Rights Respecting Steering Group
Primary Seven Rights Respecting Assembly
On Wednesday 3rd February Primary Seven held their class assembly on the theme of 'Fairtrade'. They invited all classes along with parents and friends to hear the message portrayed in
Article 27 'Everyone should have a good standard of living' . They also explored the message of Articles 24 and 28 . Well done P7 for bringing this very important assembly to our whole school community.
World Book Day Assembly
In preparation for World Book Day in March, Primary Five held an assembly to tell everyone how important books are to them and how much they enjoy reading.
They did however also give the message that across the world some children are not able to access their right to read and enjoy books. Children such as Mina from Afghanistan, who was not even able to go to school [Article 28] because of war in her country. Parents
and all the children from our school listened as P5 recounted the plight of Refugees and how they too have difficulty in accessing their rights to books and education [Article 22]
This assembly really made us think how we should not take books and education for granted because it is a very precious thing for ALL children
Learning about rights in P1/2
On Thursday March 3rd P1/2 invited all members of the school community , parents and friends to their rights based assembly. They chose two fairy tales ,Cinderella and Hansel & Gretel. They told us how poor Cinderella did not have any friends [Article 15] and had to do lots of work [Article 32] . They also showed us that Hansel and Gretel were not allowed to live with their mum and dad [Article 20 ] and were not kept safe! [Article 19].
Here they are telling us how nobody should be denied their rights.
P1 Assembly - I am Special
Mrs Kearney's P1 class held their assembly to day. They have been working on Article 7 and 8 in their class. They have been doing some rights respecting homework about celebrating their own special names and 'Rights Respecting Rosie 'has been helping them.
They told us all about their own names and all the things they have been learning since they came into the 'family' of St Mary's.
Lots of mums and dads were at P1 Assembly and it really was a special day for us all.