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School full of song wins rights award

A Swansea school where pupils are sung rather than shouted into line has become the first Welsh-medium primary school in Wales to receive a special Unicef UK Award.

Swansea Doing it the Rights Way UNCRC logo

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llwynderw has been awarded a Level 1 Rights Respecting School Award by Unicef UK for embedding the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into its ethos and curriculum.


Teaching about and embedding children's rights into everything the school does has boosted pupil's self-esteem and increased classroom and playground harmony. Pupils have improved behaviour, attendance and results.


It's made YGG LLwynderw an example which Welsh Medium primaries across Wales are being urged to follow.


YGG Llwynderw was built by Swansea Council in 2008 to meet the growing demand for Welsh-medium primary education in the west of the city. 


The school impressed inspectors by enabling children to have a say for example in shaping the curriculum, school, and class charters too. 


The school has been supported to reach the standard by Swansea Council's Children and Young People's team as part of the council's commitment to children's rights and its commitment to Welsh medium education.


Cllr Christine Richards, Cabinet Member for Services for Children and Young People, said: "Swansea Council was the first local authority on the UK to adopt the UNCRC and we are delighted to have supported the first Welsh Medium primary in Wales to achieve Rights Respecting Level 1status.


"Well done to everyone involved with YGG Llwynderw's rights journey which has led to less conflict and bullying, better attendance, better learning and pupil outcomes too.


"It's not only helping the school to be best it can be but pupils from this school are setting a positive example for their whole community to follow too."


Llwynderw's No Shouting Rule to bring more mutual respect presented adults with a problem at lining-up time until the school came up with the novel solution of introducing singing teachers to prompt children to do the right thing at the end of play-time.


Headteacher Mrs Gayle Shenton said: "Music but particularly singing is an integral part of the school ethos and we have adapted the use of our voices to ensure the teachers have the children's attention without having to shout.


"We use this strategy during assemblies and key parts of the day including lining up in the morning and at break time. We use songs that reinforce language patterns, Days of the week, Mathematical rhymes and also traditional songs. The children enjoy and to them this is the norm."


The school's rights mascot Polly the Parrot features in displays throughout the school to highlight rights and how children should behave so they do not deny others their rights too.


A Restorative Practice rights based approach is used to bring children together and talk issues through to reduce classroom and playground conflict.


Children have developed a strong partnership with youngsters thousands of miles away in Siavonga in Zambia.


Miss Rachel Evans the Lead Teacher, has worked closely with staff and pupils to ensure that all children input into decisions at school.


Mrs Shenton added: "As Headteacher I am especially proud of the way the whole school has taken on board the Rights respecting School's agenda. It's one thing to think that something is a good idea but putting into practice takes a team effort. I'm so pleased to be able to say that Llwynderw is a happy school and this is reflected in the work the whole school has done to embed the culture of respect and cooperation into our daily routines."


Swansea Council's CYP team have supported over 35 schools to achieve the Level 1 Award with 37 more working towards the status. 17  schools that have been awarded the next step up Level 2 Award, which Llwynderw is now aiming for.


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