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Hello again…..

We may have been quiet for a while, but it doesn’t mean that we haven’t been working! We have been exploring ways to help schools and their school councils achieve the best that they possibly can, and to keep the school council’s profile raised within the school. In our view, school councils are not just about what colour to paint the toilets, or how long the lunchbreak should be. There are so many issues on which students have a view, and many ways in which the students can start to become involved in the wider issues of World citizenship.

We believe that School Councils UK should not just promote the setting up and running of effective school councils, but that we should encourage other aspects of school councils that take in a broader remit. The young people on your school council are future leaders, they have taken on the responsibility of becoming the voice of their peers. This is not just a one-way street!  In the same way that the SLT receive suggestions from the students via the voice of the School Council, it should be a given that the channel is also open for the SLT to canvass student opinions. Anything that involves the student well-being should be open for discussion, whether that be peer-mentoring, bullying policies, restorative justice, growing organic vegetables in a school garden, healthy eating... the list goes on. Sit down and talk properly, exchange ideas and views, listen with respect – on both sides.


School Council Training


The UK ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 16 December 1991 and it came into force on 15 January 1992. This means that as adults, we have to ensure that every child under the age of 18 receives these rights, which comprise 42 different Articles. The one that directly affects school life is Article 12, which states “Children have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them, and to have their opinions taken into account”. Therefore, it is not enough for a school to simply set up a School Council and have meetings. The Headteacher or SLT have to listen to what the students are saying, and give those opinions due weight and consideration.

If your School Council isn't effective, then the students will soon lose interest.  You will have difficulty at election time, as students will have no interest in putting themselves forward for election.  The meetings will become boring, and there will be no Student Voice.

For the students, the whole process of putting themselves forward for election, preparing their manifestos or personal statements, canvassing for support and votes and then winning a place on the School Council and becoming an integrated cog in the running of the whole school machine should be exilarating, exciting, and greatly sought after!

School Councils UK is here to offer support and training not only to newly set up School Councils, but also to long-standing School Councils who may either have lost their way or just wish to become involved in a new area of school life (ie, Lesson Observations, Peer Mentoring, etc).

Here are some comments from students and staff who have recently taken part in training for their School Councils:

“Thank you for the valuable training to help choose the right Headteacher for our school.  We felt that it would’ve been very difficult to complete the interviews well without your fun, informative training.  The training helped us prepare for the interviews and feel relaxed during the process” Year 6 student

“It was an amazing day and I felt I learnt loads and it was really beneficial to me” Secondary student

“I would like this more often, I enjoyed it and the booklet was good” Secondary student

“The sessions and activities were all useful.  They were very simple, but effective and really made me think” GTP Student at staff training

“The strategies for making decisions were most useful and it would be great to have the SCUK trainer come into out class to lead a session” Trainee Teacher, year 6

Congratulations

orwellschoollogo.jpgThe School Council at Orwell High School have plenty to be proud of. They have just won the HMS Ganges Youth Trophy.  This historic trophy is presented annually by the Town Council to a young person or organisation for young people in Felixstowe for outstanding community service.  Every year the School Council invites senior citizens from the local community to a “Giving Back to the Community Day”. This is a day of entertainment, including lunch, provided by the students of Orwell High School organised by the very active Orwell School Council.  Invitations to this day are eagerly anticipated by local residents. The School Council is also involved with the Felixstowe Youth Forum and participates in an annual litter pick. Well done Orwell School Council!


Resources

This last half of the summer term is the ideal time to be checking your School Council resources and ordering anything you need ready for September. We will be reviewing all our resources and pricing over the summer, so our suggestion would be to stock up now to avoid any potential increases!