Welcome To our Student School Council Section of the Gwernyfed Website
Why is there a school council and what is its role?
In Gwernyfed, the views of the pupils are extremely important to achieve high standards and create a positive working environment for all pupils. The role of the council is to discuss and act upon key issues concerning the pupils and create a positive school and community environment.
How does it work?
At the beginning of the academic year, two representatives from each form group in the school are elected to represent the views of their forms at meetings. It is the responsibility of the form reps to gather thoughts from the pupils in the form group, present these ideas at the school council meetings and most importantly complete the feedback form after every meeting.
What is the feedback form?
Introduced in 2017/18, the school council feedback form addressed the issue that not all pupils were being fed back information discussed at school council meetings. The previous system where pupils simply went back to their forms and told them roughly what happens was ineffective, and therefore a feedback form was created. Produced by the Chairs of the council, it outlines the key points discussed at the meeting on the left-hand side, these should be read out to the form, and then on the right-hand side, form representatives are expected to write the feedback/comments/ideas on that topic that they receive from their form via group discussion. This form is then returned to the Chairs of the council and failure to complete this results in the form reps being re-elected. The information collected is then analysed and presented to the Head Teacher before being acted upon. A feedback form actions sheet is attached to the back of the next meeting’s feedback form, and this allows all pupils to see that their views are being taken seriously and acted upon.
What are meetings like, and how often are they?
Our meetings are based on open-discussion, with many ideas flying around. The aim is to incorporate everyone’s views, so we have a thorough discussion on each topic and at the end go through each year group individually for any other business. The Charis of the council also feed back actions from the last feedback form at each meeting, and comments are taken on this. There is no set time period for how often the council meets, however the council ensures that it meets at least once every half-term. The time between meetings is dependent on how long it takes to gather all 18 feedback forms in, analyse the information and act upon the suggestions. It would be unfair to hold meetings without having acted upon the previous suggestions. Additionally, sometimes the Chairs decide to meet with specific year group representatives, for example Years 7 and 8, if there is a specific issue that concerns a certain group of people more directly. The details of these meetings are fed back at full council meetings and are put on the actions sheet.
What about other groups that represent the pupil’s voice?
In July 2017, the school council voted to combine the eco-committee with the school council for the 2017/18 year. This was based on the feeling that eco-issues could be discussed in more detail and were more likely to be acted upon through school council than if there was a separate committee. This has proved successful, with issues such as bins being resolved. In December 2017, the school council voted to become a part of the Medic Mentors scheme, and many pupils’ names were gathered for this. The council is also represented by two reps on the Powys Youth Forum, and they feed back information to the council after each PYF meeting. In addition to this, the Sports Council represents the pupils voice in sport, being responsible for events such as the Gwernyfed Games. This is run separately to the school council as its members are made up of the Young Ambassadors. However, sporting issues discussed at school council are presented to the sports council and visa-versa.
Links to the Governors:
The school council has 3 representatives on the Governors and are provide a report on what is going on in school council at each Governors meeting. Important pupil issues or requests are taken to the Governors for discussion, and the outcome of these are fed back at school council meetings.
Overall, the views of the pupils are extremely important, and the feedback process is crucial to ensuring that the pupils are aware that their views matter and are being acted upon. We are very fortunate in Gwernyfed to have a Headteacher that is very open minded to any suggestion and wants to hear from and act upon views of the pupils. Furthermore, the link between the Governors and the school council is very important and shows that the pupil’s voice is taken very seriously in Gwernyfed.