ABOUT SCHOOL COUNCIL
Here at Springwell School we have an active school council of children who have volunteered to represent their fellow pupils. We have regular meetings to think about, discuss and vote on school issues, particularly ideas which affect our children directly.
At the beginning of each year the children reflect on how the meetings should be conducted and we decide upon our rules. This year we have decided that it is very important for us to listen to each other, to take turns to speak and to respect each others' opinions.
We conduct our meetings quite formally with an agenda and minutes which are displayed on our own notice board. We have learned how to vote on issues using symbols where necessary. The children have lots of ideas and are able to bring them openly to our meetings.
We have been involved in many decisions and activities at school and have had a great deal of fun and enjoyment. Here are some examples of things we have done:
Agendas and minutes
Our School Council meetings are made as accessible and enjoyable as possible for our children using many of our communication strategies.
As part of our preparations we distribute an agenda to all the classes prior to the meetings so that staff have an opportunity to introduce ideas to their pupils and make them aware of what is going to be asked of them.
We plan to publish these agendas on this part of the school website, together with the subsequent minutes. This is will enable families and friends to know what is happening and to give them an opportunity to communicate about the issues at home if they wish to do so.
We greatly welcome your input and ideas and invite your feedback. Thank you for your support which is much appreciated.
School Council achievements 2018-19.
Springwell School Council consisted of eighteen children who represented pupils across the school with the exception of the Early Years and Off-site classes. Off- site classes either contributed electronically by forwarding their views prior to the meeting and/or participated in School Council at their host school.
In response to the school expansion we divided School Council into Upper School and Lower School Groups and met separately for five meetings and twice as a Whole School Council. This ensured that all pupils had time to communicate their views and for increased differentiation.
In the first half term, once the classes were settled the children voted for their class representative with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation which supported their understanding.
School Council meetings were then held every half term after the Autumn break. We met in the Community Room where facilities permitted us to sit at tables with space to make notes and use our Velcro voting boards in comfort.
Differentiated agendas were prepared in advance so that teachers and off-site classes could send their views prior to the meeting. Narrative symbols for ‘where’ and ‘who’ etc, which are used across the school are included in the agendas to enable all our children to understand what we are discussing and what is coming next.
We have a page on the School Website where we post the agendas, minutes and photos of each meeting.
In the first meeting everyone decided and agreed a code of conduct for behaviour which was printed, sent home and signed by all representatives with agreement from home. At the beginning of each meeting the children remembered how they agreed to listen, take turns to speak and be kind to each other. This resulted is great behaviour, positive team spirit, everyone being valued and lots of work getting done.
As before we continued with the use of visual aids such as Velcro yes/no boards in order to vote on any issues. The children really enjoyed the idea that their opinion made a difference to outcomes: we always endeavour to put into practice the ideas voted upon.
This year we:
It has been a very happy and positive year for the School Council and we, as a school, are very grateful to all the children who agreed to give their time and energy.
Packham practising their voting!
A summary of School Council achievements
This year Springwell School Council consisted of representatives from each class with the exception of our Early Years classes.
We held meetings at least once every half term, usually using the community room where facilities permitted us to sit at tables with room to make notes and use our Velcro voting boards in comfort. As last year we have distributed differentiated agendas to the children using a variety of visual symbols including the narrative symbols for ‘where’ and ‘who’ etc now used across the school. This enables all our children to access the items on the agenda and understand what we are discussing and what is coming next.
Everyone agreed to be kind and polite in our meetings. We usually begin each meeting reiterating our rules and have noticed a marked improvement in taking turns to speak and listening more attentively to each other. As before we have continued the use of visual aids such as Velcro yes/no boards in order to vote on any issues. The children really enjoy the idea that their opinion really makes a difference to outcomes as we always endeavour to put into practice the ideas we vote about.
This year we have made good use of the class suggestion boxes that we made last year. Children and staff have been able to jot down ideas and thoughts on any topic to place them in the boxes which are then brought to the meetings. Please see the collated results of the last audit of the boxes enclosed. In particular having a new minibus was suggested and we are extremely fortunate that this is in fact a future plan for the school. The children talked about decorating the bus with such illustrations as our school logo, a rainbow and children happily playing. All classes were given a template for the children to use in order to capture design ideas to submit for the school to select from and be inspired.
Last year we talked about appointing a child to act as chairperson for some of the meetings. We were unable thus far to implement this project as it would require very careful planning and training and agenda time has not permitted it this year. Nevertheless, this idea remains an aspiration for the future, particularly once all the new expansion developments for the school are well under way.
Ongoing concerns for the children have been resources and activities for outside activity times. We are pleased to report that their continued interest has resulted in several new toys and ideas being brought in, including small toy play with sand, colouring books and crayons and sharing books as part of the drive to offer a variety of ‘quiet’ things to do outside. We are grateful to the staff who facilitate this using PECS aprons for the children to select an activity.
It has been a very happy and positive year for the school council and we, as a school, are very grateful to all the children who agreed to give their time and energy.
- Adrienne and Louise