The term ‘pupil voice’ refers to ways of listening to the views of pupils and / or involving them in decision making.
At The Dales School we believe that children should be active participants in their own learning; that their opinions should be heard and valued both in school and in the wider community. We actively seek ways to engage pupils and encourage them to make a contribution.
Pupil Voice and Participation at The Dales School
There is a wide range of approaches used across school to support pupils of all ages and abilities to engage in pupil participation and promote pupil voice:
- School Council
- Peer mentoring
- Pupil contribution to annual review
- 1:1 therapy (for some)
- Pupil led enterprises
- Suggestion boxes
- Pupil assessment of learning
- Consulting pupils on their targets and progress
Teaching and Therapy
Bespoke teaching approaches and therapies (OT, Speech and Language and Music Therapy) are a growing part of pupil’s education at The Dales School. Where appropriate, pupils are asked to provide input into target setting by identifying their own priorities for improvement and discussing the impact of this work. This allows pupils to work on areas they value and increases motivation.
Embedded into the curriculum are teaching and learning opportunities where pupils are asked to consider and share their own opinions. They have opportunities to plan their own activities within a topic remit, and to share work with others in a range of different ways. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their own learning and identify future goals in collaboration with teachers and support staff. They also have opportunities to input and plan for specific tasks and activities; e.g. plan what to cook for lunch in the café, what to plant in the garden or what ‘game’ to organise for a school fair.
School council promotes democracy, leadership and mutual responsibility throughout the school. Elected class representatives meet termly. The process of school council provides:
- A positive forum for pupil voice
- Structured opportunity for pupil-leadership dialogue
- Pupils with an insight into democracy
- A forum for pupils to instigate change in respect of elements of school life, e.g. school meals, social areas, outdoor equipment
- A feeling of self-worth and mutual respect for pupils.
Whole School Approach to Pupil Involvement
Staff understand the importance in involving pupils in all aspects of their education and learning. Pupil views are valued and time is always given to seeking out and listening to the views of individuals and to taking these views into consideration in any decision-making. Pupils routinely give their own contributions to their annual review meetings and take a central role in transition planning. Opportunities for peer mentoring and support (e.g. young leaders) are provided, as are extra-curricular lunchtime clubs, many of which are run in response to pupils’ requests.
Charity events and fundraisers for the school and for local and national charities (e.g. Children In Need) are planned in collaboration with pupils, thus giving them ownership and pride in what they achieve.
The Dales School is committed to the promotion and protection of children’s rights in line with the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. We believe that all children and young people should have opportunities to express their opinion in matters that affect their lives and strive to ensure that they are provided with learning opportunities that equip them to do so as effectively as possible.