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school-council

School Council

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We have two representatives for each class. If you see them around school, and you have a suggestion for the staff or for what you would like to change in school, let them know!

What does a school council do?

A school council is a formal group of pupils who act as representatives of their classmates in discussing school issues with the headteacher and staff. It is a brilliant way of representing and contributing to pupil voice in our school. Pupils are elected to represent the views of all pupils and also to improve their school. They help to make decisions about how the school is run and take on projects that support the children’s learning and development, such as organising charity events, representing the school at outside events, or ensuring the school is environmentally friendly. School councils are usually elected annually by the other children. A school council does a number of things:

  • A school council usually meets with a teacher present to discuss and sort out problems. These could include school lunches, behaviour, or ideas for fundraising events.
  • Members of the school council are responsible for carrying out the ideas that have been agreed upon, such as planning discos, writing newspaper articles, or meeting with catering staff.
  • Each year, every class will normally elect two representatives to be members of the school council. The council will then meet to elect officers such as Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Why should you have a school council?

There are lots of reasons to have a school council. To begin with, Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that children and young people should have a say in decisions that affect their lives. A school council can provide a meaningful way in which pupils can voice their opinions and have their views taken into account in decisions that impact upon them. Evidence and experience from schools all over the country shows that a school council that is supported and nurtured helps to improve many aspects of school life. It’s an important and useful way for schools to provide leadership and development opportunities for their pupils.

Student councils are a great way for students to take on leadership rolespromote the voice of the student body, problem solve, and impact their community. A council serves as the voice for an entire student body and actively works with teachers and advisors to promote a better learning environment.

Within the school curriculum, one of the key areas making up the ‘Learning for Life and Work’ theme is active participation. The curriculum requires that young people are provided with opportunities to participate in school and society. School councils are an excellent way in which to increase participation, teaching young people about democracy, local and global citizenship, and accountability.

What is the history of school councils?

School Councils have been about for around forty years, but now with citizenship being taught so widely, there are many more being set up. The government says that school councils are important, but it isn't compulsory for schools to have one. Having said that, in some countries there are laws that state all secondary schools must have councils, for example in Ireland, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

What makes a school council successful?

A good school council is one that represents the views of all pupils and gets things done. These are some things that make a school council effective:

  • Regular meetings.
  • A council that is not too big.
  • Class/Form councils that meet regularly.
  • Good communication between representatives and their class.
  • Training for school council members.
  • Smaller groups (subcommittees) working on specific events or issues.
  • A bank account or budget (however small).
  • Annual evaluations.

Will my child miss lessons if they’re on the school council?

No. Although your child may be taken out of class for short periods, our school council meets at different times to avoid them missing the same lesson for each meeting. In addition, your child's teacher will ensure that they catch up on anything that they may have missed. 

What might be discussed during a school council?

Children are usually elected from classes all around the school, and the school council is designed to provide an opportunity for them to be directly involved in general issues that affect the school. These issues can be wide-ranging and can be initiated by staff or pupil groups. During the school council meetings, council members would typically discuss things like improvements to school grounds; creating a school motto; arranging tours of the school for guests and visitors; and many other aspects of school life.

Members of the school council should be given time in class to get feedback from their peers and find out opinions on matters that will be discussed at the meetings. Feedback from these sessions and minutes from meetings can then be used to inform decisions at a whole-school level.

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September Question

What has been your favourite thing about the start of this school year?

What changes would you make to how school starts in September?

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