Over this session we have done a great deal to increase participation of pupils and parents. Not only is this the right thing to do but it is also part of what we are required to do. Indeed over the years ahead there will be increased expectations around how we ’empower’ our staff, pupils and parents.
Participation, engagement and empowerment are grand words which often do not translate into actions. Surveys over the world and over time indicate that it is often tokenistic and on an agenda set by the school rather than being meaningful and set jointly by those involved.
I hope to briefly illustrate how we are trying to take it forward for our pupils and parents:
- Pupil Participation: We have been working with groups of class representatives and using a national resource “How Good is Our Schools; Pupil version”. This has allowed pupils to look into 5 themes; relationships, community, health, learning and attainment and come up with their ideas on what we are doing well and what we need to improve. I have also given pupils a budget of £3000 and they are free to us e this on priorities they identify. I have attached a short presentation the pupils have shared with their classmates which shows some of the things they are now being taking forward. YLL feedback from reps meeting (May 2019) These are very real things that will make a real difference in their school and community.
- Parent participation: Every parent is a member of the Parent Forum and is invited to attend Parent Council meetings. The Parent Council itself is a smaller group who represent the Parent Forum and are involved in supporting school improvement. The school keeps in regular contact with the Parent council on a range of issues and the Parent Council are also increasingly working with the pupil representatives to take ideas forward. In relation to links between the parent council and the school at our meeting last week we had a general discussion about school improvement priorities over the next 3 years and more detailed plans for the next year. In addition the parent council have been working directly with the pupils to look at how they can jointly fund improvements to the school playgrounds. These discussions will result in work being carried out over summer to install new equipment, spaces and benches in our playgrounds. Again these are very real things which have been identified by the parents and pupils and which will be taken forward.
We will keep looking for other ways to extend our engagement to a wider group of pupils and parents as well as into other aspects of our work.