Posts Tagged ‘School Councils’

Why book Training for your School Council?

Well, Ofsted are looking specifically at judgements for pupils’ outcomes, including “the extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community”. An effective and well-trained School Council is the way to satisfy this.

During an inspection, Ofsted Inspectors are also specifically tasked with talking with pupils, including “…those holding representative responsibilities, for example as members of the school council”. Are you sure that your School Council is running effectively enough to show an Inspector that you value your students’ views?

Why use School Councils UK to deliver your Training?

We only use Trainers that we know can do the job properly.  All our Trainers are Licensed by us to deliver Training that has been developed and adjusted over the past 19 years.  We have worked with Local Authorities, Infant, Primary and Secondary Schools, and the UK Youth Parliament.  The Training we deliver is updated to include new areas of interest for Student Voice and takes into account the comments we receive via our Training Feedback Forms.

Our Trainers are ex-teachers with a passion for Pupil/Student Voice and Citizenship.  They know how to relate to children and young people.  They use tried and trusted techniques to ensure all participants are focussed and, most of all, they make it fun!

The Students know what they are doing, but I’m a newly appointed Link Teacher, can you help me too?

Certainly!  Our Trainers are equally happy delivering one-to-one Training to teachers new to School Councils as they are training groups of students.  They will spend time with you going over any areas of concern, ensuring that you feel confident enough to guide and advise your Council and SLT.  Remember also, that following your Training, there is always someone here at our offices from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, who can provide phone support if you feel unsure about something.

I’m working hard with our School Council and they are doing a fantastic job, so why can’t the rest of the staff understand how important it all is?

Sometimes school staff don’t understand how a really effective School Council can help Whole School Improvement.  It may be that instead of embracing Student Voice, they find it threatening.  Our Trainers can provide Inset or Twilight Training for staff.  Frequently, once staff members understand how a School Council fits into the jigsaw of opinions and suggestions they are keen to expand the Council remit even more!

We can give you a quote….. “Teachers have nothing to fear and everything to gain from research on the effectiveness of pupil participation.  Young people’s active engagement in school life is the best way of preventing alienation and disruption and enhancing achievement.” Steve Sinnott, General Secretary of the NUT 2004-2008.

Why not make the most of your (these days limited) budget, and book Training for the School Council with an add-on Twilight for staff?

Okay, I understand why I should book Training, but what do I ask for?

Depending upon your own experience as a Link Teacher and the experience of the School Council you can choose a variety of options.  The following are just suggestions and the list is by no means exhaustive.  Your Trainer will talk with you beforehand to ensure that the Training covers the areas most relevant to your school and your pupils/students and is appropriate to the length of time you wish to book.

Start from Scratch: 

For a brand new School Council, or one that is being re-vamped, you may wish to “start at the very beginning”. 

  • What is a School Council for?
  • How do we elect Representatives?
  • What do we talk about and who decides?
  • Who is in charge?
  • How do we let the rest of the pupils/students know what we are doing?
  • Decision making
  • Whose view is right or wrong?
  • What areas of school life are we allowed to influence?

 Improve effectiveness & explore deeper issues:

  • How to set up sub-committees
  • From class councils to year councils to executive council
  • Profile raising
  • Project management
  • Negotiation
  • Meeting skills

  Advanced Issues:

  •  Peer mentoring / Buddies
  • Teaching & Learning (including students as observers)
  • Student Governors
  • Getting the School Council involved in writing Policies

 For Staff:

  •  Why School Councils are vital to school improvement
  • How to support Class Reps
  • The importance of allowing Reps time to gather views and give feedback
  • Why School Council meetings should be timetabled as part of the curriculum
  • How you can make the most of involving pupils/students in staff interviews, lesson observations, behaviour, etc
  • How School Councils can improve relationships between staff and pupils
  • How being involved in a School Council can help rebels and “rabble-rousers”  learn skills to help them become Leaders.

 For Link Teachers:

  • How to support the School Council without running it for them
  • Liaison with the SLT
  • How much assistance to give the School Council
  • How to advise, guide & provide basic internal training

Right, now I have an idea of what Training I/we need, what happens next?

We have drawn up a short questionnaire for you to complete.  Please go through the questionnaire and fill it in as fully as you can.  Then, email back to davidwhiting@schoolcouncils.org

We will look through the questionnaire and appoint the most appropriate Trainer for you.  This decision will be made according to the type of Training you have requested, and your location.  As all our Trainers are very versatile and experienced, we expect to be able to appoint the Trainer closest to your location.

The Trainer will be given a copy of your questionnaire together with your contact details so that they can be in touch with you direct.  We will inform you who the Trainer will be, so that you can expect their call or email.  If you do not hear from the Trainer within three working days please let us know.

When you liaise with the Trainer, they will draw up your Training Programme, specific to your needs.  They will also discuss with you whether you need a half or whole day.  Sometimes we find that schools request a half day, but then want to cover more than would be ideal in a whole day!  Your Trainer will advise you how to make the most of the time you wish to book which may mean including less content in order that the most important areas can be dealt with properly.  Please remember that our Trainers are used to setting up Training Programmes and their advice is valuable.  We want you and your pupils/students to enjoy the Training and gain the maximum benefit.

This all sounds great, but I’m worried about committing to something before it is approved by my Line Manager!

We understand completely that your SLT or Department Head is going to want to know in detail what you are requesting funding for.  We know that you may want to progress to discussing your requirements with a Trainer before you can get funding approval.  Don’t worry!  Until you agree a date with the Trainer and we send you a Booking Confirmation, you are under no obligation.  Obviously, we have to trust you not to take advantage of our Trainer’s time and goodwill, but we haven’t been let down yet.  Usually, by the time a Link Teacher has discussed what they need with the Trainer, they and their Line Manager are excited by the possibilities and want to firm up all the details as soon as they can!

Oh….. I forgot to ask the important question – what is this going to cost?

No problem.  The prices and details are listed below.  These costs include:

  • Liaison with Trainer to set up your specific training programme
  • Time booked for the training
  • Resources for you and your School Council, typically:- badges, pens, handbooks/pupil booklets, training pack (so you can refresh & reinforce what is covered), year planner.  There may be extra specific items included depending upon what is being covered during your training, these will also be included in the cost.

 The details:

  • Each of our Trainers work with up to 25 pupils/students and at least one teacher.
  • A full day (maximum of 6 hours, including lunch provided by the school, between the hours of 9am–4pm) costs £700.
  • A half day (maximum of 4 hours between the hours of 9am-4pm) costs £400.
  • Staff twilight sessions (as an add-on to a half or full day training, up to 2 hours, finishing no later than 6pm) costs an additional £150.
  • Stand-alone staff sessions are charged as a full or half day depending upon the timing.
  • The earliest our Trainers start is 9am and the latest they finish is 6pm, unless specifically negotiated.
  • Trainers’ reasonable expenses will be extra (travel and subsistence).  Train/taxi fares are recharged at cost, mileage is charged at 40p per mile.
  • In the majority of cases, pre-training planning can be done by telephone and email.  Where meetings in person are required they will be charged as an extra.  Please check with us before arranging meetings so that you don’t incur more costs that you are expecting.
  • All prices are (unfortunately) subject to VAT at the current rate.

 Brilliant, all sounds really great to me, now I’m going to move on to the Questionnaire…..

 OR

I don’t think I’m going to get those costs approved.  Is there any way I can still access your Training?

Yes!  You could consider organising Cluster Training.  Many schools are part of a cluster, a pyramid or a federation.  This works really well for small schools with less pupils on the School Council.  Contact two or three other schools to arrange a joint training session and split the costs between you.  Our costs are slightly higher for this, as the requirement for Resources is often different and the Trainer will have to adjust the programme to fit.  However, even split between two schools it makes a difference.

  • The Trainer will work with up to 30 pupils with a minimum of two teachers to assist.
  • For a full day, please add £200 to the costs given above.
  • For a half day, please add £150 to the costs given above.

We simply ask that we liaise with only one of the schools so that administration and organisation is easier.  We are happy to issue multiple invoices splitting the costs however you request us to.  We will need a questionnaire completed for each of the schools taking part in the Training session.

This won’t work for us, we don’t have links with any other appropriate schools, what do I do now?

In 2012, for the first time since the new Management took over in 2009, we are starting to set up Regional Training Days.  Currently we are looking for schools wishing to attend a Regional Training Day in the Birmingham area and will shortly be distributing details of a proposed Regional Training Day in Devon.  If this is more appropriate for you, please email davidwhiting@schoolcouncils.org and request details.

Thank you for considering School Councils UK Training.  We are passionate about Pupil/Student Voice and look forward to working with you and your School Council.

David Whiting

Click here to access the Questionnaire

Whether you need help with a brand new School Council, or want your existing School Council to be more effective, our Licenced School Councils UK Trainers can help.  Every course is tailor-made to your exact requirements to enable you to extract best value.  Take a look in more detail by downloading the Info Document below.

SCUK Newsletter No. 26 : 21/02/12

 

Click here to download with fully working links

One of our Trainers, Bob Windsor, who is based in Cheshire, will be offering schools the chance to benefit from his experience.  We are in the process of setting up a ONE DAY SCHOOL COUNCIL SURGERY at an easy to reach venue in the HALTON DISTRICT.

Each school can book a 30 minute 1-2-1 slot with Bob, for just £20 plus VAT. 

This is a really great chance for Link Teachers to bring along their School Council Chair and Vice Chair and ask specific questions relevant to their own Council.  There will be light refreshments available all day, so if you want to arrive early, or stay for a while afterwards, you can connect and network with other School Councils.

If you would like to register your interest in booking a slot, please email me as soon as possible, as we expect this to be a very popular day!  davidwhiting@schoolcouncils.org

 

 

SCUK Newsletter No. 25 : 07/02/12

 

Click here to download with fully working links

School Councils UK Newsletter No. 24 from 24/01/12

 

Click here to download document with working links

Welcome back to a new term and a brand new year!  We hope you all had a relaxing and refreshing break and have returned bursting with brilliant ideas for Pupil/Student Voice in your school!

We love to hear what you and your School Council are doing.

  • Have you put a particular project in place?
  • Have you raised money to improve your school?
  • Have you set up a new sub-committee or group to help with well-being? For example, Buddies or Peer Mentors.
  • Have you worked hard to change the school environment?
  • Did you do something special before Christmas to improve Community Cohesion?
  • Have you started a School Council Enterprise Scheme?

Whatever you are doing, you can be sure that other School Councils would find it interesting and inspiring.  We are often asked what other School Councils are doing, so that new ideas can be formed.

If you would like to let us know, then please do write an article of about 500 words and send it to us, together with some photos, and we’ll send it round to about 30,000 school contacts in one of our e-newsletters.  There’s an added benefit too….. every School Council that has an article published will receive a £50 voucher to spend on our great resources!

What are you waiting for?  Get scribbling now and send it to me at davidwhiting@schoolcouncils.org

 

We received a question from a member of Constabulary, which raised a good question that we felt would be relevant to any school in any area of the UK.

Your question to me on Twitter (@schoolcouncils) was “We presently have a project ongoing with our local Comprehensive school to improve community cohesion.  We should link in?”

Very strongly, part of what school councils are about is linking to local and other communities.  They are encouraged to link to youth councils; town, borough and district  councils.  Many school councils organise social visits to old folks homes, especially at this time of year.  I can’t comment on your local schools but emphatically the answer is yes on this score

Another area for school councils is that of Health and Wellbeing.  This includes anti-bullying of the physical or cyber kind.  Wellbeing also reaches into transport and whether the children and young people feel safe coming to school and going home.  Very much your territory.  So emphatically the answer is yes on this score too. 

I am not aware of your local conditions, but it seems to me that  in some areas there is a need for the healing of rifts between between the police as a whole and young people.  If this should apply in your part of the country, I would invite you to think of school councils as  an ideal channel into the school community to enable that healing to take place.  Again, the answer is emphatically yes.

In the round, therefore, there is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained from police services nationally linking to school councils and from there into the wider school community

Good luck!  Let us know how you get on.