Primary schools and pupils from across the borough have been commended for their creativity after taking part in an art competition to promote new standards set out in child safeguarding legislation.
The competition, run by the St Helens Safeguarding Children Board, challenged pupils to create artwork, ranging from paintings and sculptures, to depict key elements of ‘St Helens Voice of the Child’ which encourages children to speak up and have their say on issues that might affect them.
Article 12 of The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child 1989, states that when adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account. This convention encourages adults to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making.
The St Helens Voice of the Child standards has been developed with children and young people and is consistent with national participation standards such as LILAC Standards, to reflect what is important to them.
The seven new standards part of St Helens Voice of a Child are: shared values, style of leadership, structures and service delivery, practice, recruitment and selection, planning and review, and complaints and advocacy.
School children in St Helens were tasked with putting the new standards into a child’s language, which was then followed by an art competition in which children depicted the key ingredients for Voice of the Child from a child’s perspective – with the theme of ‘equality’ being a significant factor in many pieces of work.
Shortlisted schools were then invited to St Helens Town Hall where the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Councillor Joe Pearson and wife Sylvia, were given the difficult job of choosing winning entries worthy of a trophy and medals.
Praising the students for their efforts, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Young People and Education, Councillor Jeanette Banks, said: “It was impressive to see such a huge amount of work, produced to an exceptionally high standard, on display and I’d like to congratulate each school and individual pupil on their wonderful achievements in creatively getting the messages of St Helens Voice of the Child Standards across.
“Children and young people have a right to have a voice in the things that affect them and their voice, both individual and collective, needs to be heard, acknowledged and responded to. We should celebrate their thoughts and ideas and respond to their worries and concerns.”
The winners were:
Overall School Winner:
Grange Valley Primary School
Overall 1st Winner
Ashurst Primary School
Year 5 Grange Valley
Ashurst Primary School
Grange Valley Year 1
Levi – Corpus Christie
Newton-le-Willows Primary School
Michael – Sutton Manor
Molly – Corpus Christie
St Mary and St Thomas
Will – Corpus Christie
Photo – The Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens pictured with local primary school children, and Steve Atkinson
(back row, end left) who is the Independent Chair of the St Helens Safeguarding Children Board.