This week we had out first Pupil Council and the first Parent Council meeting of the session. I see both groups as being extremely important in school improvement and in this blog wish to say a little about each group and the difference they can make.
10 things to know about our Pupil Council:
- each class has 4 representatives (council, charities, sports and rights reps).
- this is to develop a broader base of class reps and increase pupil voice, influence and participation.
- the class reps have a role to represent the views of the ‘Pupil Community’ (all 820 pupils in the school) and to ensure the pupil community play a positive active role in improving their school.
- Pupil Council reps meet monthly in a ‘House of Representatives’. They focus on how we can improve the school for People, Learning and Community.
- they take views from their classes on what can be improved and they make plans for how to take forward their priorities.
- examples include; updating the water fountains, getting a sign at the front of the school, having the extra curricular clubs event, changes to the school uniform, the updated vision statement and the school improvement plan.
- they not only discuss important topics they also have money so they are empowered to make changes – last year their £1000 was used to replace the 4 water fountains this year they have £3000 to spend.
- the pupil council was led by seniors up until summer but they decided it was best led by S3 reps who not only had less exam pressure but also would be in school longer to benefit from the decisions which they take.
- the development of a strong, active and independent pupil council is ensuring that pupils are not only informed but they are also involved, engaged and empowered.
- it also ensures that we are recognising and realising key articles of the UN conventions on the Rights of the CHILD (UNCRC) through our day to day work.
10 things to know about our Parent council:
- every Parent is a member of the Parent Forum and can attend Parent Council meetings
- the Parent Council is a smaller group who represent parent views and support school improvement, it is chaired by a parent Catriona Allan
- the Parent council meet around 6 times per year (7.00-8.30 approx) and try to ensure there is time to hear about some aspect of the school and also cover the business of the Parent Council
- over this session the Parent Council will work with school leadership to further develop how we inform and involve parents in the life and work of the school
- if parents cannot attend a meeting they can raise issues through the parent council or see what has been discussed through the minutes of the meeting
- the parent council want to do more to ensure parents not only know the priorities for their school but are actively involved in shaping these priorities and taking them forward
- they are particularly keen to reach out to those parents who for whatever reason find it difficult to get to meetings or connect with the school
- the parent council make a significant difference to the school – they can offer financial support to the school, they work with school leadership and the pupil council to set and take forward priorities, they support events aimed at involving parents in their school
- areas where the Parent Council have made a difference include; changes to the school reports, changes to the booking system for parents night, school uniform exchange, support for a careers event, events to inform/involve parents (quiz night, Numeracy and literacy events)
- by keeping a strong focus on people/relationships, learning and community the priorities of the parent council are aligned with those of the pupil council and of the school as a whole
There is a National drive to ‘empower’ schools and to give strength a ‘school led system’. We have taken steps to promote pupil participation and parental engagement and we have a commitment to further develop this work alongside parents and pupils. If we are to ‘be the best we can be’ we will only do this if staff, pupils and parents work closely together on the same 3 priorities, improving; people, learning and community.