Ben Godsell

Age: 13
From: Dorset

Kimberly Wyatt, Ben Godsell BCyA, Dame Mary Perkins, Co-Founder, Specsavers

Kimberly Wyatt, Ben Godsell BCyA, Dame Mary Perkins, Co-Founder, Specsavers

Ben learnt about Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as part of the curriculum at school. Motivated by his own negative experiences in previous schools, Ben instigated a project to develop a school-wide rights charter. His main aim was to make his school a better place for everyone by ensuring that students always feel safe and secure, as there are rules and rights in place to maintain this.

Ben raised awareness of rights amongst fellow students, staff and visitors, before drafting his school charter. He then led a consultation with the school community (staff, pupils, parents) to find out what they felt were the key rights, and the obligations that go with these. After analysing the feedback he received, Ben amended his charter ready to present to the School Council, who chose to adopt it.

The charter that Ben created was recognised with a First News ACTive Citizenship Award and is now an essential feature of everyday school life. It is displayed in every room in the school and is referred to in all subject learning. The charter has contributed to a positive and democratic school community where problems are resolved collaboratively and everyone feels included, listened to and valued.