The Smart School Council
At Thorley Hill, we believe that it is important for all children in the school to have a voice. So we introduced a Smart School Council. These meetings build our skills in: peer interaction; communication; reasoning; teamwork; willingness to accept other people’s answers and compromise.
The aims of The Smart School Council are:
- To be a voice for the children of Thorley Hill Primary School
- To help ensure our school is a safe, happy and fair environment for all children
- To suggest ideas and to listen to the ideas of other children which will promote improvements throughout the school
- To support fundraising events as appropriate
The Smart School Council provides the opportunity for pupils to learn important life skills, such as speaking and listening, teamwork, problem-solving, moral reasoning, self esteem and self confidence. All of the pupils recognise that they have a voice that is valued.
How the meetings work
Every fortnight, the whole school will meet in their classes to discuss a question. These might be about issues in our school or about current events in the wider world. For each meeting there will be a class leader, who leads the discussion, and a writer, who records the votes and ideas of the class. The leader and writer change for every meeting.
When we hold our meetings, each class discusses the question, debates their ideas and ultimately reaches a consensus before placing a ‘vote’ onto the online system. The following week every class can see what the winning idea was. For example, in November 2021 we voted on an activity for celebrating Children in Need: the winning idea was to design an outfit for Pudsey.
At the end of the meeting there is the opportunity for the children in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 to suggest things that they would like to do to improve our school. The children are approached by a member of the Communication Team and asked to write a proposal to become an action team.
What are Action Teams?
Anyone can have an idea and start up an action team. Some of our Action Teams have worked collaboratively across year groups for example the table tennis group where Year 6 children taught the Year 2 children how to play (pre-pandemic).
Other Action Teams have wanted to improve our school environment. One group tested all the children’s chairs in the school and put a sticker on the wobbly ones. They then approached the school caretaker and asked him to fix these.
Some Action Teams have wanted to create change. For example one team wrote a letter to the catering company requesting that they be allowed both cheese and beans on their jacket potatoes instead of having to choose.
How are Action Teams created?
There are two ways these are created.
Firstly children may write a proposal for their Team. They need to think about: if they need a space to hold it in;
Ask a member of staff to sponsor them;
If they need any money to buy things and how much;
Find other children (between 4 and 6) who agree with and support their proposal. These children would join the action team.
Secondly, children can make a suggestion for something they would like to improve in the school at the end of the class meeting. These children are then contacted by a member of the Communication Team.
These are members of Year 5 and 6 who work together to keep the Smart School Council running.
There are several jobs on the communication team:
The question finder who finds the new question each week
The class meeting tool leader who sets up the new questions and checks the votes.
The newsletter writer who updates the rest of the school with information about the action teams and the progress being made on projects.
The Action Team Developer who checks that the proposals for new action teams will work well and are sponsored by a member of staff.