A TAUNTON primary school has been awarded UNICEF UK's highest accolade for commitment to promoting and realising children's rights.

The gold award received by Parkfield Primary School is also given for encouraging adults, children and young people to respect others' rights in school.

Parkfield is only the second school in Somerset and one of fewer than 650 UK-wide to be awarded gold accreditation.

Headteacher Gareth Jones said: "I am truly honoured and elated to receive the gold award for our school's commitment to the UNICEF Rights Respecting School Programme.

"This recognition is a testament to the dedication of our entire school community - pupils, staff, parents, and governors - in fostering a culture that values and upholds the rights of every child.

"Our journey towards achieving this milestone has been a collective effort, and I am immensely proud of the positive impact we have made in empowering our pupils to become compassionate global citizens.

"This gold award is not just an acknowledgement of our achievements, but a reminder of the ongoing responsibility we have to nurture a learning environment where every child's rights are not only respected but also actively promoted.

"Let it inspire us to continue our journey towards creating a world where every child's potential is recognised, celebrated, and protected."

The Award recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of a school’s planning, policies and practice.

A Rights Respecting School is a community where children’s rights are learned, taught, practised, respected, protected and promoted.

UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools Assessor Jilly Hillier said: “It is evident that children’s rights are embedded across the school and underpin every facet of school life.

"There is an ethos that places importance on personal development, positive relationships and community based on mutual respect and trust.

"A strong culture of inclusivity and respect which is understood and articulated by children and adults alike can clearly been seen across the school.”

The UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools initiative is aimed at schools across the UK, including those in an early years setting.

It works with nearly 5,000 primary schools, secondary schools, schools for children and young people with special educational needs and pupil referral units across the UK.

Schools have reported a positive impact on pupil behaviour, relationships and well-being by enhancing pupils’ self-esteem, leading to less truancy and bullying, better learning and improved academic standards.