23 Mar 2016

Developing the Pupil Voice in Schools

We have recently developed our training materials for piloting in schools and colleges, delivering our first training session to thirty pupils at Braeview Academy in Dundee. The session covered developing representation and meeting skills, working with students from a range of different age groups to integrate them as closely as possibly in the running of their Pupil Council.

The Pupil Council currently functions with representation from all year groups, but there was an appetite within the school to develop further into an autonomous body with real decision-making power. It was agreed that we would provide training and work to increase the capacity of the students on the council while also consulting with the school about how best to develop and integrate their representative structures.

Bringing through the voice of the learner in their education has always been at the heart of sparqs’ work, which fits with recent developments in the sector emphasising the importance of the citizenship aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Our work at Braeview began with a meeting through a Lift-Off Network meeting while promoting our Learner Transitions events in November 2015. In subsequent meetings it was agreed that sparqs would tailor our Associate Trainer materials for use with school pupils to help develop the pupil voice at Braeview through training representatives who would be active in the pupil council.

Going ahead we look forward to working closely with Braeview’s teachers and pupils to design a representation system that works to represent all pupils at the school, and that really puts learners at the centre.

Through this work we are looking at opportunities to take this work further in the school setting, developing a set of training materials specifically tailored for schools looking to improve the efficacy of their school councils. Taking into account the needs of individual schools as well as the necessity to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of all the key stakeholders at the school, our approach will look to ensure the pupil voice is at the heart of shaping their learning experience.

For further information please get in touch with Phil McGuinness, Development Consultant – phil.mcguinness@sparqs.ac.uk.

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