School Council Structure
School councils are about involving young people in the life of their school. A school council is a group of pupils elected to represent other pupils in the school. The school council is a place for young people to talk about things that relate to their school, and any other matters which concern them. The school council will present ideas to adults within the school so that pupils have their voice heard when decisions are made.
Getting involved in the school council can benefit young people and their fellow pupils. They will get valuable experience in working with others, debating issues, making decisions and presenting ideas.
Year councils relate more to Secondary schools than Primary schools. In most Secondary schools, the class (or form) reps will meet to discuss issues raised in class, and issues to be dealt with at the school council.
Class or Form Councils
Class/form councils give all pupils the opportunity to be involved in making decisions in the school.These councils mean that there is then good communication between the pupils in the school and the school council. All pupils are given real chance to develop their speaking and listening skills, self-confidence, self esteem and problem solving skills.
In Primary school circle time is often used for younger children to be able to talk about school and classroom issues.
Form/class council meetings usually follow a similar pattern to the school council meetings. However pupils should have the chance to decide how their meeting is run e.g. will chairs be moved so they the meeting takes place in a circle? when someone speaks will they stand up? will the class vote on issues that need to go forward to the school council?
Peer support can mean being part of a project where pupils help each other through advice, educational or emotional support.
In examples of strong school councils - peer support has been a key piece of the councils work.
Types of peer support are:
Emotional support through...
- Circle Time.
- Group Work.
- Buddy Systems.
- Friendship Stops.
- Peer tutoring (helping someone if they have difficulty with something e.g reading)
- Advocacy (this means having someone to speak on your behalf)
This is a good way of getting pupils to use their skills and to get things done.
Examples of sub committees are:
- Anti-Bullying - keeps an eye on pupil behaviour and organises peer support activities like buddy schemes and friendship stops.
- Assemblies - organises and plans school assemblies.
- Budget/Finance - prepares school council budget and organises fundraising.
- Building/Facilities - keeps an eye on school buildings and suggests new equipment.
- Catering/Healthy Eating - reviews school food and tries to improve healthy eating within school.
- Charity - decides which charities to support and organises fundraising events with the budget finance sub-committee.
- Constitution - revises the constitution annually and distributes copies.
- Dance/Ball/Disco - organises annual dance events for students.
- Elections - organises school-wide elections and makes sure pupils follow the rules of the election.
- External Relations - organises links with other schools and organisations.
- Hospitality - organises tours of the school for new students and guests of the school.
- Publicity - produced newsletters/websites/posters and press releases.
Any successful school council needs to have links with the governing body. While pupils can't always attend the whole of a governors meeting, the chair of the school council could come to give a short presentation about their work. Also, a governor could be linked to the school council and attend meetings to give advice and support.
In some schools, staff do not know what the school council is up to, so they can't help with discussions in class. It could improve communication if one/two school council members were able to make a presentation at one of these staff meetings in order to keep teachers up to date with the business of the school council.
ID: 692 Revised: 2/2/2012