“Pupils told me about the changes that they suggested and, where appropriate, the school has made them. They also told me about the ‘Rescue Crew’, where elected pupils help each other out, for example when they are upset, angry or want a playmate. Pupils told me . . . that they really appreciate the opportunity to take on such responsibilities, beaming with pride when wearing their responsibility sash and helping others.” – OFSTED, 2016.
The student council embodies one of the most important foundations of our school – putting the child first. Members of the student council are chosen by the other young people in their class. Our upper school classes choose one or two representatives for the year. In our lower school classes young people have decided to choose someone with an interest in the current topics to represent them at the council meetings.
The council meets every month to think about current issues that they or the other young people in their class have raised. The council also discuss issues put forward by the school (such as the uniform and the refurbishment of the hydrotherapy pool). The individuals use whatever means of communication is best for them, and staff support the group to communicate with each other. The council creates actions around the issues, and then individual members agree to complete these and suggest any support they may need in doing so. Staff work with the small groups or individuals to complete the actions in time for the next meeting/event.
Past successes for the student council include a new £100,000 playground, and the establishment of a “Rescue Crew” providing peer support at lunchtimes. More recently the student council have put forward a proposal for a change in the way meal times and play times work. This has been presented to the staff at a meeting and the staff agreed “We hadn’t thought about it the way they had.” “You could see they had really thought it all through not just for themselves but for the best of everyone.” The student council are continuing to monitor how this is working for the students as a whole, and taking on the responsibility of working with providers of lunch time clubs and activities to make sure no one is excluded because of the changes.
The council have an amazing capacity to think of, and care about others. They combine this with their love of fancy dress, dance, and cake to routinely co-ordinate fund raising events such as Children in Need and Sport Relief!