Lisa is a Class Teacher at Pentland Field School, an all-through special school in Ickenham, Middlesex. Here she tells us how they managed to involve their whole school through the Smart School Council.
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Lisa Sanford, Class Teacher at Pentland Field School. I lead the Smart School Council which I started in January this year.
What was your school council like before?
We didn’t have one!
How were you introduced to the Smart School Council model?
I attended the Smart School Council Masterclass with a senior teacher (who is also a member of SMT).
We were really impressed with how the model included all children which is what we wanted to do especially as all our children have a form of additional needs, and difficulties with communication
What did you do first?
We carried out a staff training session as we wanted to get the Class Meetings set up as soon as possible in the new school term. I used the training materials available on the website and edited it to represent how we, as a school, were going to be implementing the new model. During the training we also used activities modelled during the Masterclass training day in November.
Which element of the Smart School Council Model did you start with?
At the moment, we’re currently only using the Class Meetings. The whole school is taking part apart from one SLD class (although we are working on how to best include them).
All children are participating and we have secondary and upper primary students supporting the early years and lower primary classes with their meetings by leading and reporting each week
What did you do next?
We are looking to create Action Teams next. These will offer the chance for children, as a result of previous week’s questions, who are willing to be part of different teams such as the eco team who will make sure that electronics, lights are turned off at the end of the day and rubbish is being put in correct bins etc.
We are aiming to link these to our careers learning in the secondary department too. We also wish to have the chance for the older children to lead clubs and activities with the younger children.
What’s it been like to implement the model?
At the beginning, we spent a lot of time tweaking the Class Meeting Tool and adding our visuals to it, but it has becoming quicker and quicker each week. Finding time in the timetable was pretty easy, but some teachers took a few weeks to remember exactly when the meetings were happening.
How do you think it's gone?
All seems to be going well! The teachers are enjoying it, and so are the children. Especially when they are leading or supporting other children. All children are having their voice heard, and seeing the results, such as book day ideas, and playground toys.
What has the impact been on the pupils in your school?
Older children are willing to support younger children and are developing their leadership skills, which links in to our careers teaching, everyone has the chance to be involved especially with the use of our visual images to support