The School Council plays an important role at Southbrook as a forum for pupils to put forward their views and suggestions for improvements. School Councillors are elected from each tutor group, so every year group has two representatives. Meetings are an excellent place for discussion, and we have some heated debates!
We have important rules that have been agreed, about making sure that everybody has the chance to be heard and state their views. We work as a democracy and pupils are helped to understand the importance of fairness and voting. It can sometimes be difficult if your vote does not win!
Past projects have included suggestions for lunch clubs which have now been extended so there is a wider choice. Year 10 and 11 School Councillors have also reviewed the setting for Key Stage 4 English and Maths. They felt they are able to learn more and make better progress. The School Council also led the consultation and change of the School Uniform. They carried out a school-wide survey with parents and pupils and ran a new school logo competition. Voting took place with Governors included, and as from April 2016, a new school uniform was phased in.
In the Summer Term 2016, the School Council led the review of our school Mission Statement. They met and debated with Governors and finally agreed the new, shorter version which is much easier to remember.
This year, the School Council has worked with other schools in the SENtient Trust on a project called ‘Listen to Us’ to ensure that their voices are heard. They worked together to produce a film which was shown to County Officers and other agencies about what makes a good day; and what makes a bad day in our schools. The views have been gathered together and sent to the County Council to be included in part of their SEND strategy.
The School Council is currently working on developing different initiatives to improve the school environment. They have produced a list of priority actions.
The School Council had another busy meeting today. On the agenda was feedback about the School Council's assembly last week, which went really well and was praised by our visiting governor. School Councillors had been approached by many pupils who really enjoyed the film we showed.
Councillors also voted for a representative for SEND 'Champions for Change'. This is a young persons group for special needs schools across Devon to voice their ideas and opinions. Josh Kenny of 7RL was voted in for this, well done Josh! We will keep you posted about any events we attend for this.
Finally, we discussed our ideas for a friendship bench in the playground for pupils who are feeling a bit sad or don't have anyone to play with at break time. School Council is going to work closely with the Anti Bullying Team and Year 11 Buddy's to create a friendly space where pupils can go to make a new friend. We talked about painting the bench 'multi-coloured', 'rainbow' and 'cheerful' colours. Watch this space!
We welcomed our new School Councillors at our first meeting, as voted in by each Tutor Group. School Councillors came prepared to the meeting with suggestions from their peers about ideas and improvements for our school. It was a very busy meeting with many ideas; including; a Year 11 Buddy system for Year 7's at break times, longer break times for pupils who help with tuck shop and updating/adding to the climbing frame in the playground. Also on the agenda was some information about Youth Parliament with an opportunity for Southbrook to vote about important issues such as funding for the NHS and cheaper public transport for young people. During our next meeting we look forward to welcoming a member of the Governing Body who is coming along to see our Student Councillors in action. School Council meets 2-3 times per half term and School Councillors know they are the voice for their tutor group and take their roles very responsibly.