Topic 2 Developing a school policy  for a rights based school 

Michael Fullan has focused his work on educational change. His model pays particular attention on “the human participants taking part in the change process” (Ellsworth, 2001), therefore outlining specific  guidelines for resisting, coping, or leading change efforts (Fullan & Stiegelbauer’s, 1991). He believes that to begin the change process you must first have a moral purpose: acting with the intention of making a positive difference in the lives of the people it affects.

People, as Fullan argues, won’t share information unless they are committed to the project and that also includes that they believe there is a moral purpose. Every stakeholder in the educational change is considered as a change agent with  an enormous potential for true, meaningful change, simply in building coalition with other change agents, both within one’s own group and across all groups (Ellsworth, 2001; Fullan and Stiegerlbauer,1991).  The single common factor to every successful change initiative is that relationships improve.

Fullan (1982, 1991) proposed that there are three broad phases in the change process: initiation, implementation and institutionalization. These are examined below In the context of developing a right’s based school policy.




  • Teachers, students, parents, supporting staff are considered as the agents of change (AoC).
  • AoC need to familiarize themselves with Children’s rights and suggest actions and critically examine their current practices.
  • This process will be facilitated through workshops that will enable participants to interact, openly express their opinions and concerns.
  • AoCwill collectively develop a clear and concise action plan, setting goals, objectives and benchmarks.
  • External stakeholders need to participate in the change process.
  • AoC need to identify different stakeholders in local, regional and governmental levels along with the issues each stakeholder should consider before committing.
  • Communicating of the need for change, the complexity and the practicality of the program needs to be clear and concise.
  • A clear allocation of the coordination along with a division of tasks and responsibilities.
  • Capacity building is of paramount importance. Seminars, workshops should be organized.
  • Institutionalization of an innovation is a decision about its continuation which depends on whether or not the change gets embedded into the structure of the organization.
  • A right’s based culture in schools should present evidence of sustainability, through the establishment of processes and practices. 
  • Continuation requires budget allocation that will be used for training, staffing, assumption of different roles.

Fullan (1999) pointed out that an innovation without a moral purpose is doomed to failure.

A Rights Based  School Policy (RBSP) provides an indisputable moral purpose which is in line with the very essence and purpose of education: to give the young the things they need in order to develop in an orderly, sequential way into members of society (Dewey, 1934). A right’s based approach is nested in the notion of  a community that caters for all its members without discrim

Nevertheless, the morality of a purpose should not be exhausted in the purpose itself; it should extend to making a positive difference in the lives of all the people it affects, including all those who are called to implement it.

As such it should be democratic, transparent and inclusive thus enabling all parties involved to actively participate in all the stages of its development, from the initiation to the implementation and the institutionalization.

All participants are therefore considered as stakeholders and their opinions should be equally taken into consideration. Students, teachers, parents, auxiliary personnel and other members of the community should be involved in this process.

Moreover, issues pertaining to the culture, ethics and the modus operandi of the school should not be neglected but actively acted upon.ination, and providing protection and assistance to those of its members that are the most vulnerable.