School Council Initiative

Rationale
 
'Involving pupils in real issues through class and school councils helps them to develop important life-skills that promote positive mental health and social welfare; emotional literacy, critical and moral reasoning, self-esteem, self-awareness, communication skills, relationship skills and assertiveness.'
 
'School councils enable pupils to make a positive contribution to the school environment and ethos.'
 
School Councils Toolkit
 
The John Hampden School Council
 
Organisation
 
  • Mrs Spencer presented the concept of the School Council to the staff in January 2017 and they agreed to support the proposal.
  • The School Council comprises of 1 representative from every class except Early Years (Crickets).
  • A secret ballot was conducted whereby each class voted for their choice of candidate. Prospective candidates in Year 2, presented their 'manifesto' to encourage classmates to vote for them.
  • Each Teacher advised prospective candidates about the role and responsibilities involved in being a member of the School Council, ensuring clarity of expectations.
  • Equality of opportunity was ensured during the election process.
  • Once elected, the members of the School Council were introduced to the rest of the school during an official launch on 28th February 2017.
  • A School Council display board has been set up outside the hall, photographs of representatives are also displayed outside their classrooms. Meeting agendas and minutes are kept in a folder on the display board as are the school ethos and the aims of the Council (which provide the foundation on which the Council is based).
  • A School Council Board is also up in the staffroom.
Meetings
 
  • Meetings take place twice each half term on a Tuesday morning from 10.15 - 10.45 in the TV room supported by Mrs Spencer.
  • Mrs Spencer chaired the first meeting and now acts as a support/facilitator during subsequent meetings.
  • A different Chairperson and Secretary are nominated by the council members for each meeting (as agreed by all members of the School Council).
  • 3 School Council meetings have taken place so far
    • The constitution and aims were agreed during the first meeting as was the code of conduct (unanimously agreed to be the Golden Rules and the School Values).
    • Safety and behaviour around the school were discussed during the second meeting (this will be a continued focus).
    • Mrs Barnes was invited to present suggestions for improving behaviour and the playground was also discussed during the third meeting.
Pupil Voice - Class Council Circle Time (CCCT)
 
  • Often, the agenda for a School Council meeting will be decided by either; CCCT or PSHEe matters arising, staff, SLT or Governors e.g. ideas about how to further improve safety and behaviour were generated by pupils across the school during CCCT's.
  • Ideas and proposals may also be made by pupils in a class suggestions box or on a class noticeboard.
Feeding back School Council Outcomes
 
  • Mrs Spencer feeds back minutes from meetings to SLT and to Teachers during staff meetings so that suggestions can be discussed and outcomes agreed upon.
  • Each class is provided with both the Minute Secretary's and Mrs Spencer's minutes and each class representative is invited to provide feedback of these to their class with the support of the class teacher.
  • Results to go in the 'pupil voice' section in the newsletter for parents and will have its own section on the school website.
The wider role of members of The School Council
 
  • School Councillors may be requested to attend a meeting with the HT/DH/SLT/Link Governor.
  • They may also be invited to show visitors around the school and to share their views.
  • The Chairperson may be requested to write a letter or email the HT or others who might help with a proposal or resolution (one suggested proposal to Mrs Barnes has already been made!).
'Now the School Council is established, pupils can see the link between discussions in their own class meetings and actual changes that take place in the school. They can identify their own contribution to the process of making things happen. Pupils can also be encouraged to see how behaviour changes. For example, if pupils are encouraged to show respect for others, they need to consider how that will actually look in practice - how they will recognise respecting when it is happening in their classroom and in the rest of the school'.