In FOCUS; Write for rights – our pupils steer climate change debate with powerful letters to Prime Minister

Our environmentally aware pupils in Year 5 have spoken up for young people everywhere, after writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the impact of climate change on children’s rights across the globe.

Children and staff at school are so passionate about the issue that they have put pen to paper to request that the government upholds its commitment to the United National Convention on the Rights of the Child and takes positive action to support children’s rights, internationally.

The letters are part of ‘OutRight’ UNICEF UK’s annual youth campaign that empowers children and young people to promote and protect children’s rights around the world. We are just one of 5,000 UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools (RRS) across the UK that embed children’s rights in their ethos and culture.

One impassioned pupil urged the Prime Minister to take action. One pupil wrote: ‘This is our world. We live in it, so help make it a better place.’

Deputy Head Teacher Rhian Warrack said: “Pupils at Hill West are aware of their rights, but we are also developing the children’s awareness of wider issues including the rights of children on a global basis, a greater understanding of the social and emotional aspects of learning and the importance of community cohesion and sustainable development.

Our pupils feel strongly that these are, ‘Our Rights, Our Responsibility’ and want to make their voices heard, so they have written to the Prime Minister as a call to action. They very much hope that the Government will respond to their request to uphold the rights of children, and Hill West will continue to support our children to make their voices heard.”

Dr Warrack explained: “The children described which rights children may not be able to access. For example, if children are living in a country where there is drought, this will cause a lack of access to water (Article 24) and a subsequent impact on children’s health so that they may not be able to go to school, impacting on their Right to an Education (Article 28), but also applies to children who are impacted by flooding and have to leave their homes (Article 27) – our pupils were shocked to think that this can happen to children in our own country, as well as to children living overseas.

“I am so impressed by the quality of letters and how passionate the children are about actioning change. They are real ambassadors for children’s rights, and I hope they receive a response from Number 10 because this is a campaign very close to all our hearts.”