Our listening school
'With little steps together we can bring change'. Over the last ten years we have developed our student and class councils as a whole school community. Working together children and staff have shared ideas, solved problems and made things happen, leading to a happy school where we all trust and value each other for who we are.
Every class in school has their own council which is organised and run by every member working together. These councils give all children and staff the chance to share ideas and concerns and problem solve together. All these shared times are based on trust and children are supported and challenged to develop their understanding of themselves and each other. Listening to others and celebrating ideas is a key skill which transfers to all other areas of life. These councils feed into our student council which meets on a half termly basis
This council is made up of two representatives from each class who have been elected through a fair democratic process. At the start of each year all classes choose their new representatives through class elections. Each time the student council meets a formal agenda helps to guide the children through the discussion process. The children put forward their ideas and decide through debate and consideration, which areas need further attention. As the year progresses it is a joy to see children growing in confidence and taking a more active role.
Over the last nine years we have achieved so many things through our councils. Between 2003/7 we created our environmental area which has become a valuable outside space. Teachers utilise this area as part of the curriculum and children spend many a lunchtime enjoying the different zones. In 2005/7 we developed our current library which has had a great impact on school life, providing a lovely quiet space where children can read in peace.
More recently in 2010 we have built our cycle racks which have provided a safe space for bicycles to be stored. During 2011/12 our council were determined to drive forward playground changes and representatives met with governors and the Local authority to discuss needs. This process led to a whole school development plan being created to improve the playground surface. During 2012/13 our new council continued the process of going out to tender and worked with the Local Authority and Governors to bring this dream to completion. During the summer of 2013 the new tarmac finally arrived; what an achievement! The children are now thoroughly enjoying their new playground and parents are happily using the new pathway which is helping to ease congestion during busy periods. In 2013/14 our council came up with the idea of creating a school chapel where we could all go to find space and time to pray. Bringing this dream to life needed great persistence and determination and by November 2014 the chapel was completed. This is such a lovely building; Wayne Swarbrick breathed life into our vision and has provided us all with a lovely space to pray.
In using the chapel throughout 2014/15 the council decided that other parts of the environmental area needed to be developed which led to children putting forward business plans. Some of these plans became a reality, helping us to develop our new Reflection Garden and Discussion Point by summer 2015.
During 2016, the Student Council decided that new playground markings were needed. They discussed ideas and through their class councils agreed plans. During the summer, following tenders being recieved, a final price was agreed and new markings installed which the children now use as part of their unstructured playtimes; they have provided areas of fun!
These are only a few developments which originated through council discussions and were then realised through consultation, planned actions, great belief and determination. Our children and teachers are a great force to be reckoned with when they get an idea!