A school is run for its students, not by them, but their voices need to be heard and respected so that, as teachers, we have as full a picture as possible of how they see their school and make them feel that their ideas and suggestions are welcome and, where we can feasibly and practically implement them, will only help us to improve as a school.
We have a student council, called the ‘round table’ after King Arthur’s knights of the round table that meets regularly with the Principal and Vice Principal and is composed of elected student representatives. Minutes from the council meetings are circulated to classes as well as shared with the Board.
Our Head Boy and Head Girl also play a key role in listening to and conveying the opinions and concerns of the student body in their regular meetings with the Principal.
Regular questionnaires are sent out to students to seek their opinion on academic and pastoral matters; these are usually anonymous so that students can express themselves freely but they are also encouraged to use the questionnaires to ask for a 1-1 meeting with the Principal to discuss a matter or raise an idea. Nevertheless, students are always welcome to see the Principal, with or without an appointment, and frequently do so to share ideas as well as raise concerns.
Lesson observations, which are focussed on teaching and learning methodologies and practice, also involve follow up meetings with students as well as staff. Again, the objective is not to pander to students nor single out individual teachers for praise or criticism but, by listening to each other, create the pathways for dialogue that ensure a successful working environment for students and staff.