For many years, all the decisions about children were made by adults. This was thought to be the best because adults are older and have more experience, training and qualifications. But adults didn’t always make the right decisions, sometimes because they hadn’t talked with the children about the issue. Sometimes the children’s ideas were better than the adults!
So, all the countries of the world got together and agreed that children must be given rights. They created a law, it was called the Convention on the Rights of Children. Governments decided that adults must listen to children before making a decision about them.
Article 12 of The Convention of the Rights of the Child
Article 12 states that children have the right to say what they think should happen, when adults are making decisions that affect them, and to have their opinions taken into account.
Just think about of all the decisions that are made about your school. You, and probably all the other children in your school would have some ideas about these decisions. But how can the teachers listen to all the ideas? That would take too long, and nothing would get done. Pupils needed a way of discussing issues, and making decisions which would help everyone in school.
Schools work better when pupils and teachers are working together and listening to each other. The School Council is just one way of listening to children’s views and making better decisions.
How It All Works
An election is held every year at the beginning of the academic year. Pupils from Year 2 to Year 6 who want to be a School Council Representative inform their class teacher and stand for election. Potential representatives write a Manifesto, stating what they want to achieve for their class and school.
Manifestos are presented to the class and pupils use a Ballot Form to vote for one boy and girl School Council Member, the ballot is secret. Class teachers also vote for an additional school member for each year group. Votes are counted and the election results are announced in an Assembly by either the Headteacher or the Chair of Governors.
The School Councillor’s Role
School Councillors are elected by the pupils in their class to:
- attend School Council meetings and take part in discussions;
- inform the class what was discussed at meetings;
- articulate the views of their peers at School Council meetings;
- create an improvement plan for the academic year and action the objectives.
School Council Meetings
A meeting is like a team, where everyone is working together to solve a problem or make a decision. After going to a School Council meeting, Councillors tell their class what was discussed and what decisions were made, so that other pupils know what the Council is up to. This is called ‘reporting back’.
Reporting back informs the class:
• what was discussed at the meeting
• what was decided
• what is going to be done
• what will be discussed at the next meeting.
The School Council discuss many agenda items throughout the year. Some examples of the issues that are frequently discussed at meetings are:
- school uniform
- school sports
- raising funds for charity
- healthy eating and school lunchtimes
- playground rotas
Rhodes Avenue Primary School participates in mock elections and referendums which coincide with national hustings and School Council Representatives also occasionally tour the Houses of Parliament, visit the Education Centre and meet their local MP.