What is Student Voice?
Student Voice is a practice that allows students to develop ideas, articulate discussions and advocate change within the school. This takes many forms within The Abbey School and we feel that it is an essential practice that empowers the student body. Student Voice promotes the idea of staff and students working together and learning from one another.
Here at The Abbey School, this involves a Student Council, made up of representatives throughout the school, who meet and discuss school-related matters and make suggestions for improvement.
Each form nominates a House Council Rep each year. This representative attends the House Council meetings during our Student Voice day (two lessons per term) and is responsible for feeding back items to the form group, collating ideas from the form group, bringing those ideas to the meetings as well as ensuring that the tutor displays the minutes on their form board.
All the Houses have their meetings at the same time with the same agenda, set by the School Council. The different year groups work together as one House group.
- Raise issues and concerns on behalf of form group.
- Vote on any issues.
- Brainstorm ideas.
- Display house activities and meeting minutes on form board.
- Make decisions so that School Council can action them.
The School Council are elected by the House Council at the start of the academic year. They meet on our Student Voice day for four lessons per term.
Any members of the House Council that wish to nominate themselves / others for election are required to submit a written statement outlining why they want to have a position on the School Council. This statement is typed and given a number to replace the students’ name - the anonymous statements are used to allow students to make their decision on the best candidate and then voted on. This system has proved popular with students as they feel this is the fairest way to elect. Nomination numbers are high for the School Council and the standard of written statements is good. In 2010, the School Council introduced voting for anonymous candidates and a small scale election campaign to appoint members to the council.
Students are elected and then expected to attend meetings, create sub-committees (e.g. Swale Youth Forum, etc) and represent the school at a variety of events.
- Action the items as proposed by the House Council.
- Write to / meet Senior Leadership Team or key staff when researching or reporting issues.
- Maintain a visible profile at all times – through VLE, plasma news, newsletter, podcasting, posters etc. and take responsibility for this.
- Provide a positive public profile for the student body especially when representing the School (e.g. media / photo opportunities, Rural Swale Cluster, interviewing new staff).
- Work alongside staff to action key priorities which may include completing some work in their own time.
- Be an ambassador for The Abbey School in all relevant external meetings and events (e.g. 2012 Olympics, Swale Youth Forum, Rural Swale Cluster).
Student Voice Days
Student Voice Days are arranged each term ensure effective administration of Student Voice. The impact of students missing lessons is minimised and agendas can be focussed and relevant. Students get to action their ideas and take responsibility for seeing through short, medium and long-term projects. Students work side by side, regardless of year group and work on lots of different school initiatives. 2013 included:
- Banning energy drinks in school.
- Reviewing school uniform.
- Chairing the Swale Youth Forum.
- Charity fundraising ideas (from onesie day to sponsored events) we raised over £7000 during 2012-13