Make your school council last past November – 5 things to do now
With each new school year the school council cycle of enthusiasm to resignation begins again:
Hear are 5 simple ideas on how to avoid this
1. Get it in the timetable
Just like anything your school really values, student voice has to be in the timetable.
Have a regular slot for class meetings so feedback can be given. Class meetings are the simplest way to involve the whole school. If you know that every Thursday form time or after lunch every Wednesday every class in the school should be having a brief meeting it’s much easier for your colleagues to get into the habit (and easier for you to ensure they are doing it).
Put your big school council meetings and events in the calendar at the beginning of the year too.
2. Create a contract between classes, class teachers, school councillors and the Head
A simple policy that lays out the expectations each should have of the other and what support the school council needs from staff can help keep school councillors on track and your colleagues on side.
There’s a version you can copy or adapt here:
[button_link url=”https://www.smartschoolcouncils.org.uk/resources/school-council-policies/” style=”white”]School council policy >>>[/button_link]
3. Give new school councillors a guide book
Being a school councillor is a big job and there’s a lot of expectation on you. A simple guide can help school councillors feel more confident and be clearer on their role. You should include the policy above.
Here’s a guide created by Northampton Academy for their students that you might want to adapt:
[button_link url=”https://www.smartschoolcouncils.org.uk/resources/school-council-guide-book-northampton-academy/” style=”white”]School council guide book >>>[/button_link]
Or if you wanted something professionally made, you could buy some of our: [button_link url=”https://www.smartschoolcouncils.org.uk/shop/products/how-to-be-a-smart-school-councillor-primary/” style=”white”]School Council Handbooks for Primary Pupils >>>[/button_link]
4. Have action focussed meetings
Make sure your minutes aren’t just an exchange of idea and moans but planning sessions for taking action.
Only allow people to bring issues to the meeting where they have identified:
- What the issue is
- Why it’s important
- What they are going to do to help solve it
You can use these ideas forms to help them (they’re great to have by your suggestion box too):
[button_link url=”https://www.smartschoolcouncils.org.uk/resources/school-councils-picking-projects/” style=”white”]School council picking projects form >>>[/button_link]
Take action-focussed minutes
The essential information that needs to be recorded about each issue discussed is:
- Who is going to do
- What by
This quick minutes form encourages chairs and secretaries to bring discussions back to action planning:
[button_link url=”https://www.smartschoolcouncils.org.uk/resources/school-council-quick-minutes-template/” style=”white”]Quick minutes template >>>[/button_link]
5. Improve communication with video minutes and a progress board
Letting people know what the school council is doing and what it intends to do shows people that the school council is active and also puts some gentle pressure on your school councillors to get things done.
Publishing minutes is one way to achieve this but in reality very few people really read them, so here are two better ways of presenting the information.
Record a 20 second video after each point has been agreed. This 1 to 2 minute video can then be played in each class’ meeting time on the IWB, so that the rep doesn’t have to pretend to remember what was discussed. It’s simpler, more engaging and shows the faces of the school council around the school.
All each person needs to say is, ‘We just discussed X. We agreed to Y. I will do Z by next week. (Come and talk to me if you want to help out.)’
A visual way to show what the school council is working on, how you can get involved and what it has achieved. Put it somewhere prominent and make your school council communication team (bonus tip: have a communications team) take responsibility for updating it.
There’s more info and a template here:
[button_link url=”https://www.smartschoolcouncils.org.uk/resources/school-council-progress-board/” style=”white”]School council progress board >>>[/button_link]
6. A cheeky extra one – get yourself some training
School council co-ordinators are often dropped into the role with no training and little support. If you like the ideas above and want some more (and some space to plan your next steps) why not come to one of our Masterclass CPD sessions. 100% of participants would recommend it to colleagues. It’s just £199 if you book now:
[button_link url=”https://www.smartschoolcouncils.org.uk/shop/products/smart-school-council-masterclass-cpd-for-teachers/” style=”white”]School Council Masterclass CPD >>>[/button_link]
What tips do you have for keeping your students (and yourself) motivated over the year?