What is a School Council?
A school council is a group of pupils elected by their fellow pupils to represent their opinions and raise issues with your headteacher and governors in the school. The school council can also take forward projects on behalf of the pupils, and be involved in planning and things like the School Development Plan, governing body meetings and interviewing staff.
To be effective, the school council must:
- Represent all pupils and include as many people as possible
- Take time to listen to all pupils and communicate their views
- Feed back to pupils about what happened about their views
- Make things happen – or explain why they can’t!
Top tips for an Effective School Council
Make sure that:
- elections are fair and open
- everyone is represented
- there are different ways for people to give their views (e.g. class time, suggestion boxes, questionnaires, focus groups…)
- training is in place
- there is effective communication so that people know what happens to their suggestions and ideas
- you see results!
School council is a valuable part of school life with a lot of changes in the last year with lower and upper school now meeting in separate groups termly to accommodate age appropriate discussions and ideas. Once a year a whole school meeting will take place as we feel all pupils together give a different perspective and chance to get to know each other plus SLT a chance to feed back. The biggest change the last few years the new school uniform continues to be a great success with all pupils returning to school looking smart and ready to learn. The school council had been championing and discussing for several years and feel proud that one of the main ideas has been such a great success. Uniform is still discussed with ideas tweaked as needed to keep pupils focused on why being in uniform helps school identity, learning and how school logo is more modern and relatable. Many prototypes where looked at with pupils trying colourways, styles and fabrics so we considered best fit and sensory issues. Sensory issues still a priority with fabrics checked yearly to keep standards up and pupils comfortable.
The school council has an impact on classes, behaviour, lessons, lunch hour set up and school dinners. The menu for dinners has been revisited this year and with an input from School chefs and the office have adjusted weekly menu to appeal to pupils more and create less waste. The school main cook is consulted on school council ideas that are fed from individual class ideas which keep menu up to date and tasty. All school council ideas and resolutions are taken back to classes then discussed keeping menu and everyone in school up to date and involved. Pupils have discussed where they like to eat meals and once again this has been considered and age appropriate areas in halls and classrooms set up for eating. Year 11 are allowed with permission to walk to shops SLT set up after consultation with pupils and parents.
How we treat and look after our school and appreciate it is discussed each meeting with pupils discussing their individual classes and whole school approach. Many good ideas have been discussed and once again an input from the office of how much everything costs on a breakdown sheet proved good for understanding within meetings and taken back to classes to put on agenda for class discussions. Pupils through this understand budgets which help with class planning and fundraising and looking after class environment and environmental issues turning of lights, paper waste etc.
Mr. Whelan and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) have attended meetings to listen to pupils views and ideas and given constructive feedback and implemented some suggestions that where viable. The school council pupils have been mature and respectful of each other’s opinion and I can see they enjoy their time at meeting and feeding back to their respective classes. Knowing they are listened to and changes are made empowers pupils and makes them feel worthy as school councillors. Recently changes to senior playground were put in place after seeing how successful lower school changes had been, SLT listened to ideas and a shelter and benches have been put in place.
School council is run as a whole school initiative and pupils benefit from this listening to views from across school and cross referencing similar issues is important for staff who run meetings Miss Stone and Mrs Hutchinson especially when it comes to behaviour and safety. The school council makes me extremely proud and I look forward to our next meeting.
School Council UK - To help children and young people to have a greater say over matters that affect their school and wider lives