Developing the pupil voice falls under the four capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence, helping young people to become Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens and Effective Contributors. Specifically, it looks at developing the attributes and capacities of making reasoned evaluations, secure values and beliefs, developing and communicating beliefs and a commitment to participate responsibly in the life of the school.
In practice, sparqs has developed a series of resources aimed at developing the capacity, on a consultative basis, of pupil councils across Scotland. Although pupil councils are not the only way young people at schools can have their voice heard, with sparqs’ ability and experience designing representative systems and training representatives, we can add real value to the pupil council of a school through our training and support package.
The package aims to develop the capacity of students involved in pupil councils, enabling them to participate more effectively in the public life of the school. However, it is not enough to develop just the pupils themselves, as we take a holistic approach to bringing through the pupil voice.
This means that our development offering encompasses facilitation of meetings between staff and pupils to decide the remit of the council and to iron out issues that have hindered the development of the pupil voice in the past. It also includes group training for pupils and professional development for staff. sparqs recognises the central role teachers have in schools, managing not only the curriculum but the welfare and development of their pupils.
Another aspect of our work on pupil voice includes the development of the pupil voice in colleges where school pupils are hosted to study particular subjects. Integrating the pupil voice in colleges into established college student representative structures is a challenge which requires co-ordination across the students’ association, the college and the school, as well as with the pupils themselves. We offer a consultancy package to colleges looking for support in this area, as well as facilitation for bringing through the pupil voice in focus groups or representative clusters.
Currently working with numerous colleges and schools across Scotland around the pupil voice, we are also working with areas that run City Wide Pupil Council schemes, Dundee for example. sparqs are actively looking for new schools, colleges and opportunities to expand the project further so if you are interested in this area of work, please contact Steph Kirkham.