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Title: Engaging with pupils in the development of a primary school council : a child rights-based approach
Author: Brown , Helen Jayne
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This action research project aimed to establish a children's rights-respecting school council and to evaluate its success. The school council was set up by a participant teacher/researcher and a group of child participant researcher. The research evaluates the success of the school council work against the standards of children's rights enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989) and against the children's rights-based aims of the School Council. The child's right to express a view (Article 12, UNCRC) was a particular focus of the evaluative work. The project began with a capacity-building programme to introduce primary school children to children's rights concepts and principles, especially the UNCRC and to school council work. The children then set up a children's rights-based school council in their schoo1. The children took part in all aspects of the research. The methods used included questionnaires for all Years 4 to 7 pupils and for School Councillors, interviews conducted by the young researchers with 18 pupils and a reflective journal, by the teacher/researcher. Children displayed a high level of competence and engaged with enthusiasm. They valued their School Council as an appropriate forum for expressing their views, acknowledged the development of a listening culture in the school and identified areas in which they had influenced decision-making. Some of the difficulties met included time constraints, which at times threatened to undermine the rights-based approach, and the boundaries that existed for both adults and children working within an educational institution. The study identified the need for having clearly articulated aims for school council work and the appropriateness of a rights-based rationale for school council work which, in this study, nurtured children's enthusiasm, developed their knowledge and understanding of rights, and had a positive and lasting effect on school culture and ethos.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available