Student Voice and School Council
At the Duchess’s Community High School we are very keen to involve students in the operation and decision making whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Each Year Group has their own Year Council which is made up of two members from each tutor group. The role of Form Representative is not necessarily a permanent position and we encourage as many students as possible to become involved in this process and have their say. These councils have the opportunity to discuss matters that are pertinent to their own year group, as well as issues that impact on the whole school. For example, Y11 students plan and organise the Leavers’ Prom and 6th Form Council the annual Holly Ball.
The School Council meets on a half-termly basis and has a responsibility for leading the Student Voice in school. They provide a mechanism for consultation about school practices and policies, help to identify and shape school development and take responsibility for developing their own projects. For example, over recent years Student Voice has informed decisions made on school uniform, the homework policy, dealing with bullying, helping to reduce stress, the positive behaviour management policy, safeguarding and preventing vandalism. Students’ comments have also informed how we provide advice and revision sessions for Yr11. It is good to be part of a school in which students have the willingness to work to make a difference!
In addition, lower school students have worked alongside the A’Level Government & Politics group on a Parliament Outreach Programme to learn how to have a say in UK politics. All Form Representatives have visited our new school construction site and have taken photographs and videos to present to their peers. They are already making suggestions on possible improvements.
Student views are sought through questionnaires, the results of which have informed our PHSE programme. Students frequently play a part in showing prospective students around school, taking a role in the appointment of new staff and supporting school events such as Open Evenings.
In the sixth form, we elected two Year 12 students as Student Voice Leaders. They have spent time, this year, interviewing and collating information on the school to create a video showing life at DCHS. Each subject area also appoint Yr12 Subject Leaders, who help with the day-to-day running of the department, including being responsible for displays, running clubs and promoting the subject at Option Evenings.
Listening to the views of students is a critical factor in the progress and development of any successful school. Only by listening to the views of ‘the users’ can we hope to provide an experience that is in tune with the wishes, hopes and aspirations of our students.
We believe that our students respond well to these responsibilities and appreciate the opportunity to ‘have a say’ in the workings of ‘their school’. We also believe that this is a good way of preparing young people for the future decisions that they will make as independent adults – both in their professional and private lives.